Ben Axelrod


Ben Axelrod is the group head of CLA’s investment banking practice. He brings with him more than 20 years of M&A advisory and related transaction execution experience.  Ben joined CLA in 2014 to formally launch investment banking capabilities for the benefit of CLA’s clients who are looking to transition ownership of their business. Since then, Ben has been providing strategic advice to clients, executing M&A transactions and building CLA’s investment banking team. The investment banking team at CLA has helped many business owners achieve their goals and dreams through successful sales, recapitalizations, and mergers of their businesses.

Ben’s passion is working with leaders of privately-owned businesses, as well as  providing strategic advice to owners contemplating a sale of their business. Over his career, Ben has completed over 80 investment banking assignments and is skilled at selling lower and middle-market companies. Prior to joining CLA, Ben worked in the Minneapolis office of Lazard Middle Market LLC (middle market arm of Lazard Ltd). During more than a decade at Lazard and the predecessor firm of Goldsmith Agio Helms, Ben provided strategic advice and executed mergers and acquisitions for middle market entrepreneurs, corporate clients, and private equity groups in a broad array of industries. 

Ben is adroit at complex M&A processes, and also has a deep understanding and appreciation for the emotional and psychological tests often faced by business owners during the sale process.  Ben’s investment banking experience covers mergers and acquisitions for entrepreneurs, private equity groups, as well as public and private companies.  The projects have included numerous sell-side advisory assignments, buy-side advisory assignments, leveraged buyouts, divestitures, recapitalizations, secondary offerings, and private placements.  Prior to Lazard, Ben worked at RBC Capital Markets. During his time at RBC, he was involved with executing a variety of investment banking deals. Ben began his career in investment banking at BHF Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. BHF, a subsidiary of ING Barings.  Ben’s investment banking expertise covers a broad array of industries, including industrial, automotive components, food companies, business services, dealerships, and consumer products.

Ben holds his Series 7, 24, 63, and SIE licenses from the Financial Industries Regulatory Association (FINRA).



Ben received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, augmented by a minor in International Relations, from Stanford University.