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Energy banker Skip McGee returns to Wall Street with a new firm

A pump jack is seen at sunrise near BakersfieldA pump jack is seen at sunrise near Bakersfield

Energy banker Hugh “Skip” McGee has come to represent the excesses of Wall Street banking: at one time he was called the highest paid man on Wall Street; he golfs with Tiger Woods; he helped lead Lehman Brothers’ work on the largest energy buyout of all time (Texas energy utility TXU, which later went bankrupt).

Now McGee is returning — after exiting as head of Barclays U.S. last year — to launch a new boutique merchant bank called Intrepid Financial Partners, which will focus on advising energy and power companies, amidst low oil prices and a fundamentally changing U.S. energy industry. The firm says it will provide M&A and restructuring advice and make both equity and debt investments.

McGee is starting the bank with partner Christopher Winchenbaugh, who was formerly the COO of Barclays Americas. The company plans to hire 35 people for offices in New York and Houston.

In a release, McGee emphasized the need for a new small boutique energy bank to help companies navigate the changing nature of the energy sector, which includes the rise of U.S. natural gas. He tells Bloomberg that “wild swings in oil prices mean a lot of energy companies are in the market for advice,” and they don’t necessarily want to go to a large mega-bank.