Bank of America Merrill Lynch Restaurant Analyst Joe Buckley Dies at 62


It’s with sad news today we learned of the death of Joe Buckley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s restaurant analyst. Joe was recognized by those in both the restaurant industry and securities business as one of the top restaurant analysts.  Restaurant industry consultant Malcolm Knapp said it best of Joe:  “He was a guy of great integrity and honor.”

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Joseph Buckley, a managing director at Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch unit who was a top-ranked U.S. restaurant industry analyst during a 30-year career on Wall Street, has died. He was 62.

He died on Dec. 20, his son David Buckley said Thursday by telephone. He lived in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and died at a local hospital. The cause was cancer.

Joe Buckley joined the New York office of Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp. in June 2008 as a research analyst specializing in restaurant companies. Six months later, the bank acquired Merrill Lynch & Co. during the turmoil of the financial crisis. “Survived the merger with Merrill Lynch,” he wrote on his LinkedIn profile, referring to his move to Merrill Lynch’s global research desk.

Institutional Investor named him to its All-America research team ranking 15 consecutive years, including eight times as No. 1, according to a biography from Bank of America.

Buckley published a weekly report titled the Early Bird Special that delivered restaurant industry data and previewed upcoming events. He also hosted a quarterly conference call with Malcolm Knapp, president of New York-based consulting firm Malcolm M. Knapp Inc. “He was a guy of great integrity and honor,” Knapp said Wednesday by telephone. “I’ve lost a great partner and collaborator.”

Fast Food

Knapp said that when Buckley returned from research trips visiting restaurants around the nation he would take a limousine home from the airport and would usually wind up patronizing a McDonald’s in the drive-through lane.

“He had a pretty good operational sense, which not every sell-side analyst does,” said John Gordon, founder and principal at Pacific Management Consulting Group, an adviser to restaurants and franchisees who’s covered the industry for more than 30 years. “You could tell that he actually knew restaurant operations -- he wasn’t just a spreadsheet jockey.”

Prior to joining BofA, Buckley worked at New York-based Bear Stearns Cos. for 23 years, starting in 1985. He rose to senior managing director at the firm, where his equity research also focused on the restaurant industry.

Earlier in his career, he held analyst positions at Smith Barney Inc. and at Raymond, James & Associates.

‘Consummate Professional’

“Joe was a true gentleman and the consummate professional,” Guy Constant, chief financial officer at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc., which operates a chain of restaurants, said Wednesday in an e-mail. “His impact went far beyond the numbers of the business and through to the people he interacted with daily. While our businesses are better as a result of Joe’s perspective, more importantly we are all better people for having worked with Joe. I will miss him greatly.”

Joseph Terrence Buckley was born July 12, 1954, in New York City. His parents were Joseph Buckley and the former Edith Carroll. He was raised in the Bronx, where his father was a supermarket manager.

Buckley received a bachelor’s degree in economics from New York University in 1976 and an MBA from NYU’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business in 1979.

In addition to his son David, survivors include Buckley’s wife, the former Maureen Loughran, and children Claire and Nancy.

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