James retired as president in 1995, handing the reins to Alexandra, who was 31 at the time. Six years later, she sold the business to insurer Mony Group Inc.’s Advest subsidiary for $25 million. Merrill Lynch & Co. bought Advest in 2005, retiring the Lebenthal name.

“That rich, historic background, it’s the stuff of which legends are made,” said Ken Langone, co-founder of Home Depot Inc. and a longtime Lebenthal family friend.

Name Back

Alexandra left the business the day the Merrill deal closed. But she wasn’t out of work for long. She and her father started Alexandra & James in 2006, providing wealth management and financial concierge services for families with a net worth of $2 million to $20 million. She was chief executive officer, and he was creative director of the new firm, which began as a unit of Israel Discount Bank of New York.

Alexandra decided within a year that she wanted her family’s name back. She went to Greg Fleming, then a senior executive at Merrill Lynch and later president of Morgan Stanley’s wealth-management division, who helped broker the deal.

With the brand in hand, Alexandra created Lebenthal Holdings LLC and revived Lebenthal & Co. as a capital-markets unit that could underwrite municipal bonds as well as corporate debt and equity. She also started an asset-management business and tapped her brother, James, to be the firm’s chief investment officer and portfolio manager.

The company’s reputation and its status as a woman-owned firm helped it land a spot on some of the biggest debt and equity deals in 2010. Lebenthal says on its website that it became the top woman-owned firm underwriting corporate debt and equity in 2011.

Society Scene

Lebenthal is a fixture on New York’s client-rich society scene. In recent years, she attended black-tie balls for the New York City Ballet, the School of American Ballet, the New York Botanical Garden and the Museum of the City of New York, posing for photographs in evening gowns and sharing tables with some of Wall Street’s top executives.

The 52-year-old mother of three serves on the board of Savvy Ladies, which helps women with financial literacy, and was chairman of the botanical garden’s Conservatory Ball in June. She was also a co-founder of the United Jewish Appeal’s Women’s Executive Circle.