Prominent Banker Dan Case Dies
Posted on: 06/27/2002
Prominent Banker Dan Case Dies
2:00 a.m. June 27, 2002 PDT
SAN FRANCISCO -- Dan Case, chairman of J.P. Morgan Chase's JPMorgan H&Q division, who played a key role in forging Wall Street's fascination with young Internet companies in the late 1990s and was one of its best-known investment bankers, died on Monday after a year-long battle with brain cancer. He was 44.
Case spent more than 20 years in investment banking, mostly at the boutique firm Hambrecht & Quist, which was legendary for financing companies in high-tech and biotechnology, including Apple Computer, Genentech and Netscape Communications, which was later acquired by America Online.
Hambrecht & Quist was taken over by Chase in 1999 and became Chase H&Q. Chase merged with JPMorgan a year later.
In his roles as chief executive and later chairman of H&Q, Case became one of the most influential bankers during the bull market of the last decade. Early on in his career at Hambrecht & Quist, co-founder William Hambrecht took him under his wing, ultimately grooming Case to succeed him, which he did.
His work taking many Silicon Valley companies public forced many blue-blood New York investment banks to take a closer look at investment opportunities in and around California.
"Clearly Case was one of the pioneers in the commercialization of Silicon Valley," said Peter Crowley, managing director and head of healthcare investment banking at CIBC World Markets, which competed with H&Q to support promising companies. "He built an impressive business in technology, which was closely followed by biotechnology."
Friends said when Case found he had cancer a year ago, he attacked the disease with the same determination that he approached his work, actively seeking treatments among budding biotechnology companies and elsewhere.
"Case fought the disease as hard as he could and dealt with it in a very courageous way," said Dennis Purcell, senior managing director of Perseus-Soros Biopharmaceutical Fund, who previously worked at H&Q and credited Case with helping him break into healthcare investment banking.
"Dan gave me my first big break in biotechnology right before the big bull market in the early 1990s," said Purcell, also well known in biotech investing. "He had tremendous personal attributes, with the highest integrity in business and a strong work ethic. He was was much loved."
Up until the dot-com implosion and the stock market swoon, H&Q's investor conferences in San Francisco were major events, drawing investors around the world, who packed into standing room only conference rooms to hear presentations from cutting edge technology companies, many of which were tiny and nowhere close to becoming profitable.
As Case enjoyed a rising profile for his own work, his younger brother, America Online founder Steve Case, also came into the spotlight, and the two became symbols of the youth-driven Internet boom.
Dan Case stepped down from his day-to-day responsibilities at JPMorgan H&Q about a year ago, after he was diagnosed with brain cancer, while Steve Case, now chairman of AOL Time Warner Inc., also withdrew from the spotlight.
"Like everything else he did in his life, Dan gave this battle against brain cancer everything he had," his brother said in a statement on Wednesday. "He fought for a cure, knowing that he might not live to see it but with a determination to make a difference in the search."
Case is survived by his wife, Stacey Black Case, their four children, his parents, two brothers and a sister.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited.
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