There’s a lot in a name for Pearl Meyer

Being part of a public company just wasn’t working for Pearl Meyer.

Being part of a public company just wasn’t working for Pearl Meyer. The veteran CEO-pay consultant sold her eponymous firm to New York Stock Exchangelisted compensation and benefits consulting firm Clark in 2000, but when her five-year employment agreement with Clark expired this summer, she decided not to re-up.

“My partners and I thought about it for two months,” says Meyer, who founded Pearl Meyer & Partners in 1989, after working for more than a decade for a compensation-consulting arm of Henry Blodget and Citigroup telecom researcher Jack Grubman. Ultimately, she and other senior people at the firm judged the conflicts of working inside a public company too difficult to manage. Following the sale Clark had asked Meyer’s firm to begin offering benefits consulting, actuarial services and other ancillary products. “Public companies are obliged to grow and diversify to provide a return to stockholders,” Meyer says. “We didn’t want that double allegiance. We decided we were more comfortable focusing solely on CEO- and board-level work for our clients, in a private firm.”

There was just one problem: When Meyer sold her firm to Clark, she also sold her name: The North Barrington, Illinoisbased company holds the legal rights to Pearl Meyer & Partners. So her new firm will bear the moniker of longtime compadre Steven Hall, who has worked with her since their McKinsey days. Four other partners from the Clark-owned firm join Meyer and Hall at Steven Hall & Partners.

“Unfortunately, I had to leave my name behind, which is confusing,” says Meyer. “But I told Steven it’s his turn to be the brand now.”