William Blair is a global investment banking and asset management firm. We are committed to building enduring relationships with our clients and providing expertise and solutions to meet their evolving needs. An independent and employee-owned firm, William Blair is based in Chicago, with offices in 19 cities across five continents.


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Our Company – At a Glance

  • Founded in 1935 by William McCormick Blair
  • Independent and employee-owned
  • More than 1,350 employees
  • More than $76 billion in client assets (as December 31, 2015)
  • Investment Banking transactions have covered more than 30 countries, 600 companies, and $209 billion in value since January 2012*
  • Research coverage comprises over 630 companies*
  • Market maker for more than 1,200 listed stocks and 500 preferred stocks*
  • No third-party debt on our balance sheet; equity comes from capital investment by our partners
  • Memberships: Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)*, Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)*, National Futures Association (NFA)**
  • View our Global Capabilities Brochure
  • *William Blair & Company, L.L.C.
    **William Blair Investment Management, LLC

Consistency and continuity in leadership is a hallmark of our firm. Since the firm’s founding in 1935, William Blair & Company has had five CEOs or managing partners, three of whom continue to work at the firm. John Ettelson, who has served as president and CEO since 2004, heads the firm’s executive committee.

Learn more about our executive committee members:

John Ettelson
John Ettelson
President & Chief Executive Officer
Brent Gledhill
Brent Gledhill
Global Head of Investment Banking
John Moore
John Moore
Head of Institutional Equities, Sales, Trading and Research
Michelle Seitz
Michelle Seitz
Head of Investment Management
Art Simon
Art Simon
General Counsel
Jeffrey Urbina
Jeff Urbina
Senior Portfolio Manager
John Zindel
Jon Zindel
Chief Financial Officer

We are committed to being a long-term partner to the communities where we live and work. Supporting the various programs of our current community partners, Midtown Education Foundation and the Music Institute of Chicago; collecting winter coats for our neighbors in need in London; and fostering arts education through a fundraising drive for San Francisco schools are just a few recent examples of ways our employees have rolled up their sleeves to serve their neighbors. Our firm has consistently been ranked as a Top 25 Corporate Citizen for our support of the United Way. In 2015, the William Blair & Company Foundation contributed to more than 200 organizations, and our employees personally contributed to hundreds more through their time, energy, and leadership.

Learn more about William Blair's community impact

Whole Kids Foundation
Whole Kids Foundation
SF-Marin Food Bank
San Francisco Food Bank
The Art of Warmth
The Art of Warmth
Midtown Educational Foundation
Midtown Educational Foundation
OneGoal's Class of 2018
Greater Chicago Food Depository
Greater Chicago Food Depository

Music Institute of Chicago
Zurich Charity Day
Zurich Office Rolls Up Its Sleeves to Serve Neighbors

Ned Jannotta, Dave Coolidge, and John EttelsonA History of Client Success

When William McCormick Blair and Francis Bonner opened their investment banking firm on January 8, 1935, the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression were still taking their toll. Across the country, the number of investment firms had decreased from 600 in 1929 to just 200 in 1935.

Amid this uncertainty, William Blair set out to build an investment firm that could help Chicago and the Midwest rebuild from the Great Depression by providing financing for the region’s most promising growth-oriented companies.

He sought to help restore investors’ confidence in financial institutions by creating a firm that was steadfastly and singularly focused on its clients’ success. “When our clients succeed, the firm’s success will follow,” Mr. Blair would say.

His would be a conservatively financed firm that stood for honest dealings, sound corporate advice, unbiased investment recommendations, and civic responsibility. His vision demanded that the firm recommend only investments that it could vouch for based on diligent research.

These uncompromising values and standards served investors and issuers well in the 1930s, and they continue to do so today. Our founder’s vision for providing unbiased investment advice and financing solutions now extends to investors, companies, and organizations across the world. Today we are a global investment banking and asset management firm based in Chicago with offices on five continents.

Throughout our history we have remained independent and employee-owned. This independence and the stability of our strong balance sheet and diversified business model allow us to put our clients first and foremost.

By building enduring relationships with our clients, we have helped institutional and private investors achieve their objectives and financed the growth of premier companies, such as Molex, CDW, and Concord. We provide expertise and solutions to meet our clients’ evolving needs while remaining guided by our founder’s vision and values.