Also called the lead left or lead bookrunner, this is the underwriter who has ultimate control of the offering. The names of the managers appear on the bottom of the front page of the prospectus, with the lead manager's name in the uppermost left. The lead manager manages all aspects of the offering, from how many shares of stock the co-managers get to sell, to the timing of the roadshow, to the ultimate pricing of the deal.
The lead underwriters restrict insiders from selling their shares for a period of time – usually 180 days. However, the underwriters have the option of lifting the lock-up period earlier. Knowledgeable investors track the termination of lock up periods, knowing that stocks may weaken at about the six month mark as more shares become available to the public, weakening the supply/demand dynamics. Investors should be cautious of any IPO that does not have a standard 180-day lock-up.