Waheed Hassan
Waheed Hassan

Investor relations firm The Blueshirt Group has launched a new corporate governance advisory and activism defense practice.

The Next Fifteen unit said this new practice would further the agency’s ability to counsel its publicly-traded clients on corporate governance issues and help them identify vulnerabilities and proactively prepare for potential activist engagement.

“Activism risk is significant for companies of all sizes,” Blueshirt managing partner Lisa Laukkanen told O’Dwyer’s. “With over $150 billion of assets under management, activist investors continue to exert pressure on companies as reflected in the increasing number of campaigns.”

The new practice will be led by Waheed Hassan, who has been appointed managing director. Hassan joins Blueshirt from governance consulting and proxy solicitation firm Alliance Advisors, where he served as managing director. He was previously M&A and proxy contest research manager at Institutional Shareholder Services. Prior to that, he was a financial analyst at Capital One and also served as a senior research analyst with Indosuez W.I. Carr Securities, UBS Warburg and Merrill Lynch affiliate Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari.

Blueshirt Group, which caters primarily to technology clients, now represents approximately a third of U.S.-based tech-related IPOs. The San Francisco-based agency, which was founded in 1999 by Morgen-Walke Associates alumni, maintains additional operations in New York, Beijing and Stockholm.

Next Fifteen Communications acquired Blueshirt in 2010.