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How one UBS banker became a top Wall Street matchmaker

For harnessing the power of the origin story to connect giant companies with indie brands, UBS vice chairman Romitha Mally is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2019.

How one UBS banker became a top Wall Street matchmaker
[Illustration: Artur Tenczyński]
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Investment banker Romitha Mally has helped orchestrate some of the highest-profile mergers between beloved indie brands and huge conglomerates. In recent years, she brokered Unilever’s acquisitions of Dollar Shave Club (reportedly a $1 billion deal), Sundial Brands (parent of SheaMoisture), and the Laundress, which makes eco-friendly cleaning products. “I try to tell a story,” she says. To woo buyers, she explains how cult brands can power long-term sustainable growth by serving emerging and millennial consumers. “I want both sides to feel like it’s the perfect . . . fit.” As a result, the founders of Sundial Brands, Dollar Shave Club, and the Laundress continue to run their brands inside Unilever. Mally harnessed the power of the origin story a few years ago when trying to persuade dog-food maker Blue Buffalo to let her firm take the company public. She made a video highlighting the founders’ journey to create a better product after the family dog struggled with cancer, and it resonated: Her firm led the company’s IPO, and last year she negotiated its sale to General Mills for $8 billion.