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Alumni-Fellow Mentors

Tracy Bahl ’04
Special Advisor, General Atlantic

Tracy L. Bahl focuses on activities in the Healthcare sector. Mr. Bahl brings significant expertise to the GA team, having previously advanced numerous growth initiatives for global leaders in the healthcare industry. In addition to his role as Special Advisor, Mr. Bahl serves on the boards of MedExpress, a GA portfolio company and the national leader in urgent care delivery, and TeleTech, a public company and leading provider of customer engagement services. Mr. Bahl also recently served as Executive Chairman of Emdeon, a former GA portfolio company and an industry leading healthcare information and transaction services company based in Nashville, Tennessee. Before joining GA in 2007, Mr. Bahl was Chief Executive Officer for Uniprise, a UnitedHealth Group Company, and previously served in various executive positions at CIGNA HealthCare. Mr. Bahl earned M.B.A.s from Columbia University and the London Business School, and received undergraduate degrees in Business Administration, Health, and Exercise Science from Gustavus Adolphus College.

 

Peter Berger ’74
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Siris Capital

 

Mr. Berger is a co-founder of Siris Capital.  Prior to establishing Siris Capital, Mr. Berger served as a Managing Director and founding partner at S.A.C. Private Capital Group (SAC PCG) since 2006.  Before founding SAC PCG, Mr. Berger was a founding member of Ripplewood and served as both a Managing Director of Ripplewood and as a Special Senior Advisor to the Board of RHJI.  Prior to joining Ripplewood, Mr. Berger was a senior partner and global head of the Corporate Finance Group at Arthur Andersen & Co, where he began his career in 1974.  From 1989 to 1991, he served as a Managing Director in investment banking at Bear Stearns Companies.  He also served as non-executive Chairman of the board of Kepner-Tregoe, a management consulting company. Mr. Berger has an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and a B.Sc. from Boston University.

 

David Blechman ’00
Founder, New State Capital Partners

Mr. Blechman founded New State Capital Partners in 2013 after 18 years of private equity and investment banking experience.  He has transaction and operating experience across a variety of industries, including industrials, business services, healthcare services and consumer retail.  He has led investments in private and public companies, corporate carve-outs and complex restructurings. Previously, Mr. Blechman was Managing Director at H.I.G. Capital, based in New York, investing the firm’s LBO funds.  Prior to H.I.G. Capital, he was Managing Director with Tower Three Partners, based in Greenwich, CT, and Principal at Sun Capital Partners, based in New York.  Prior to Sun Capital, Mr. Blechman spent five years with The Blackstone Group in their Restructuring and Reorganization practice.  He began his career with Lehman Brothers investment banking, working in Chicago and London. Mr. Blechman received his undergraduate degree in economics from University of Chicago and earned his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.  He also served for four years as Adjunct Professor of Finance at Columbia Business School.

 

David, De Leeuw ’69
Co-Founder & Co-President, Huntsman-Lion Capital,

David E. De Leeuw is a founding partner of Lion Chemical Capital LLC, a private equity firm focused on investing in premier businesses operating in the chemical and materials industries. Mr. De Leeuw founded Lion Chemical with his brother Pete De Leeuw in 2002 to acquire, manage and eventually monetize chemicals and materials businesses. Since the Firm’s founding, Lion Chemical has invested and/or advised on transactions in the chemical industry valued at over $4 billion and have earned net returns in excess of 10x invested capital. Mr. De Leeuw has more than 10 years of investment experience in the chemical and materials industries and more than 40 years of investment experience in various sectors including, consumer goods and services and financial services. Mr. De Leeuw also co-founded Lion Cao Asset Management in 2005, which provides institutional quality investment management services to family offices and wealthy individuals with a focus on private equity, direct investments, co-investments, and funds.  Lion Cao principals have led investments into more than 40 funds, managers, direct investments and co-investments. Prior to establishing Lion Chemical and Lion Cao, Mr. De Leeuw, was a founding partner at McCown De Leeuw & Co., which raised more than $1.2 billion in four funds and invested over $1 billion in 40 leveraged platform acquisitions and over 100 add-ons. Mr. De Leeuw led or played a key role in numerous financings for McCown De Leeuw including IPOs, mezzanine debt, bonds, and private financings, as well as acquisitions, divestitures, and secondary offerings over a 20 year period. Prior to founding MDC in 1984, Mr. De Leeuw led the leveraged acquisitions group at Citibank, and was previously at W.R. Grace & Co., and Paine Webber in New York and Tokyo. Mr. De Leeuw has served on more than 25 Boards (with several listed on the NYSE or NASDAQ) since 1984, often as Chairman or Vice Chairman. Mr. De Leeuw is currently serving on the boards of Lion Copolymer, a manufacturer and distributor of EPDM and SBR rubbers, and specialty polymers and Columbia Business School's Private Equity Program Advisory Board. Mr. De Leeuw received an MBA from Columbia University, and a BA in History from Lafayette.

 

Michael A. Gatto `93

Partner, Silver Point Capital

Mr. Gatto is a partner at Silver Point Capital a $8.5 billion hedge fund that specializes in distress debt investing. After joining the Firm in April 2002, he became the Firm’s first non-founding partner in January 2003. Mr. Gatto helped build out several businesses for Silver Point, including the trade claims and C&I loan businesses. Today, he is the head of the Firm’s Restructuring group, where he oversees a team responsible for driving and negotiating in and out-of-court corporate restructurings, and the head of the Firm’s C&I business, which engages in purchasing distressed loans backed by hard real estate assets. Mr. Gatto is also a senior member of the flagship fund’s credit committee. Outside of Silver Point, Mr. Gatto is currently an adjunct professor at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, where he teaches a course on fixed income and special situation investing. Prior to joining Silver Point, from January 1999 to April 2002 Mr. Gatto worked at Goldman Sachs as a senior member within the Special Situations Investing Business, specializing in investing in debt of distressed companies. Before joining Goldman Sachs, Mr. Gatto designed and taught credit training programs for loan officers of North American and European Financial Institutions. Prior to this, he was a loan officer and director of Global Training at Citibank. Mr. Gatto received an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in Economics. He is also a CFA Charterholder and has served on several corporate boards, which have included specialty retailer, Party City, and most currently, Macau gaming company, New Cotai Investments.

 

Michael Genereux ’95
Senior Managing Director, Blackstone

Michael Genereux is a Senior Managing Director in the Restructuring & Reorganization Group. Since joining Blackstone in 2003, Mr. Genereux has worked on restructuring assignments involving a broad range of companies, including A123 Systems, Bally Total Fitness, Bear Stearns Asset Management, Calpine, Conexant, Delta Air Lines, Dynegy, Eastman Kodak, Edison Mission Energy, Fleming Companies, Foxwoods Resort Casino, Harry & David, Hawker Beechcraft, Hawkeye Renewables, Hostess, MoneyGram International, M Resort, R.H. Donnelley, Smurfit-Stone, Spansion, Station Casinos, TOUSA, Inc., and Vitro, S.A.B. de C.V. Mr. Genereux has provided witness testimony in bankruptcy cases on valuation, capital structure and other financial matters. Before joining Blackstone, Mr. Genereux was a Director at Credit Suisse First Boston in the media and telecom group and previously was a Vice President in the investment banking division at Merrill Lynch & Co. Prior to these, he worked for Barclays, PepsiCo and Price Waterhouse. Mr. Genereux received a B.S. from the School of Business and Accountancy at Wake Forest University and an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University. Mr. Genereux is on the Board of Visitors for the School of Business at Wake Forest.

 

Stewart K.P. Gross `87
Managing Director, Lightyear Capital

Stewart Gross is a Managing Director of Lightyear Capital and a member of the Investment Committee. Prior to joining Lightyear Capital in May 2005, Mr. Gross spent 17 years at Warburg Pincus, where he was a Partner and member of the Operating Committee.  Mr. Gross began his career as a Financial Analyst in mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley. Mr. Gross serves on the Board of Directors of Lightyear Capital portfolio companies Cetera Financial Group, Flagstone Reinsurance Holdings Limited, and Higher One Holdings, Inc. Mr. Gross received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

 

Mark Hallock ’82
Partner and co-founder<, M2O Private Fund Advisors, LLC


Mark Hallock is a Partner and co-­‐founder of M2O Private Fund Advisors. Prior to forming M2O, Mark was a Managing Director and ran the Fund Placement Group of Jefferies & Co, opened the New York office for Jefferies Helix, opened the London project management office for Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette's Private Fund Group and established Salomon Brothers' fund placement business. He has raised capital from investors in the North Eastern and Midwestern United States and Europe for private equity fund managers located in the US, Europe, Asia and Africa. Mark earned his BA in Mathematics from Cornell University and his MBA in Finance from Columbia University. Mark holds Series 7, 24 and 63 licenses with FINRA.

 

Chris Kirsten ’84
Managing Director, Private Capital Advisory, Greenhill & Co., Inc.

Mr. Kirsten is a Managing Director and Chairman of Greenhill’s Private Capital Advisory Group. Mr. Kirsten was previously a Managing Director and Global Head of Lehman Brothers’ Private Fund Marketing Group and a Director of Deutsche Bank's Private Equity Finance Group. Prior, Mr. Kirsten spent 13 years in institutional fixed income sales and management with Nomura Securities International and Citicorp. He began his career at Seagram Wine Company as a product manager. Mr. Kirsten has founded and been a board member of several private companies. He currently holds a chartered financial analyst and received an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.
 

 

Robert I. Knibb ’83
Co-Founder and Partner, Arlington Capital Partners

Mr. Knibb is a Co-Founder and Partner of the Firm. In total, Mr. Knibb has over 25 years of private equity experience in a variety of industries. He has been involved in more than 20 acquisitions representing in excess of $4.2 billion in aggregate enterprise value.
Prior to co-founding Arlington, Mr. Knibb was a senior member of the investment team at MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., a diversified investment company, which is the principal investment vehicle of Ronald O. Perelman. Notable transactions which he led include the $655 million acquisition of The Coleman Company, the $140 million recapitalization of MacAndrews & Forbes Company and the restructuring and sale of Genstar Rental Electronics. In addition, during his 13 years with MacAndrews & Forbes, he also was very involved in more than 20 other successful deals including Consolidated Cigar, First Gibraltar, Revlon, Toy Biz and Frigitronics.
Mr. Knibb currently serves on the Board of Directors of Brightstar Education Group and he has previously been a member of the Board of Directors of TSI Group, Inc., NLX Holdings Corporation, Stonebridge Technologies, Genstar Rental Electronics, John Patrick Publishing and Ad Venture Interactive. He is a trustee of Eastern States Exposition. Mr. Knibb earned an M.B.A. from Columbia University Graduate School of Business and holds a B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from Union College with a major in Mathematics. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst.

 

Peter C. Lewis ’82
Chairman, President, and Founder, Wharton Equity Partners

Mr. Lewis is Chairman, President and a founder of Wharton Equity Partners. Since its inception in 1987, he has overseen the expansion of the firm's investment reach in the areas of real estate and private equity.  Regarding its real estate activities, Wharton Equity plays an active role in the transactions it undertakes.  With roots in large scale residential development, as well as the ownership of various asset types from office, hotels, and apartments to self-storage, the firm combines in-depth operational experience, with institutional capital markets sophistication.
Mr. Lewis recently spearheaded the launch of the firm’s multi-family strategy with the purchase of over $150.0 million in multifamily properties located primarily in the southeast and central US. In addition, earlier in 2013, Wharton Equity expanded its operations into the Miami market when it took control of a 2.2 acre parcel of land in downtown Miami, zoned for a 2 million square foot mixed-use project.  The property was acquired through the purchase of a note and subsequent receipt of deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure. During his career, Mr. Lewis has been involved with the investment of well over $1.0 billion of equity in real estate transactions.  Mr. Lewis received his BS in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and his Masters in Business Administration from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. 

 

Jeff Lipsitz ’89
Managing Partner, Cortec Group

Mr. Lipsitz joined Cortec in 1998 as a Managing Director, was promoted to Partner in 2005 and Managing Partner in 2010.  Prior to Cortec, Mr. Lipsitz was Vice President of Corporate Development for PLY GEM Industries, Inc., a U.S. manufacturer and distributor of specialty building products.  At PLY GEM, he was responsible for merger and acquisition activities, strategic planning, and financial analysis of its ten operating subsidiaries as well as the operating performance of several businesses. Mr. Lipsitz earned a M.B.A. degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Business and holds a B.A. from Union College.

 

Ling M. Liu `98
Managing Director, New China Capital Management

Ling M. Liu, is a Managing Director at New China Capital Management, the investment manager of the Cathay Funds (a series of China focused private equity funds) with total AUM of $800 million.  Cathay Funds provide growth capital to middle-market companies in the fast-growing private sectors of the Chinese economy.  Ms. Liu is a member of the Investment Committee and is primarily responsible for the implementation of exit strategies and evaluation and execution of new investment opportunities.  Prior to joining the Investment Manager, Ms. Liu was a Vice President in the investment banking division of Morgan Stanley (Hong Kong and New York).  Ms. Liu has extensive experience in capital markets and M&A transactions for Chinese enterprises.  She was responsible for the IPOs of China Telecom, China Unicom and PICC and has also represented clients such as Huawei Technologies in international M&A transactions.  Previously, Ms. Liu was a management consultant at Deloitte & Touche Consulting in Hong Kong and Andersen Consulting in New York.  Ms. Liu received a BS from SUNY Albany and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

 

Peter Nelson ’85
Operating Advisor, Nautic Partners

Peter Nelson has been associated with Nautic Partners since 2003, initially serving as Chief Financial Officer of CLC Group, a Fund V portfolio company, until Nautic’s successful exit in early 2009.  He is currently an Operating Director with Nautic.  In this role, Mr. Nelson provides operating support to Nautic portfolio companies in the areas of finance, organizational development, marketing and business strategy on either an advisory basis or in an interim management role.  He also supports Nautic’s due diligence efforts in the evaluation of potential investments.  Mr. Nelson’s professional experience prior to Nautic includes more than 20 years in both financial and operating management and consulting to businesses in the manufacturing, technology, and business service sectors.   In addition, he has a wide range of transactional experience including financing and M&A transactions totaling $2.5 billion. During his career he has worked for IBM, Booz & Company and Horsehead Industries. Mr. Nelson received a BS in Engineering from Brown University in 1981 and an MBA from Columbia University with concentrations in operations and marketing in 1985.

 

Christian Oberbeck ’86
President and CEO, Saratoga Investment Corp.

Mr. Oberbeck’s direct portfolio company responsibilities include Advanced Lighting Technologies, Inc., CEMA Lighting, STC Wireless Resources, Inc., EUR Systems, Inc., CommSoft, Inc. and Koppers Holdings Inc.  Mr. Oberbeck also had direct responsibilities for the following fully-realized portfolio companies: Data Return, NAT, Inc., Scovill Fasteners Inc., USI Holdings Corporation and J&W Holding Corporation. Prior to assuming management responsibility for Saratoga Partners in 2008, Mr. Oberbeck has co-managed Saratoga Partners since 1995, when he joined Dillon Read and Saratoga Partners from Castle Harlan, Inc., a corporate buyout firm which he joined at its founding in 1987 and where he was a Managing Director.  Prior to joining Castle Harlan, he worked in the Corporate Development Group of Arthur Young and in corporate finance at Blyth Eastman Paine Webber. Mr. Oberbeck graduated from Brown University in 1982 with a BS in Physics and a BA in Mathematics.  In 1986, he earned an MBA from Columbia University.

 

Adam Reinmann ’04
Director, Wendel

Adam Reinmann is a director with the Wendel Group in New York. Previously he worked for Onex, a leading Canadian investment firm, where he was leading origination and due diligence efforts in the chemicals and specialty materials industries and has worked on several private equity transactions, including the acquisitions of The Warranty Group, Skilled Healthcare, Cypress Insurance Group, RSI Home Products and JELD-WEN Holding, inc. During 2009, Adam served as a member of the executive management team at Celestica, Inc., where he was actively involved in developing Celestica`s growth and operational improvement strategy. Before joining Onex, Mr. Reinmann was with JPMorgan’s Leveraged Finance Group for eight years, where he led financings for financial sponsors and corporate clients, principally in the chemical and healthcare industries. Mr. Reinmann is a member of Columbia Business School Private Equity Program's Advisory Board. Mr. Reinmann holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a B.S. from Binghamton University.

 

Julian Thomas ’09
Director, Onex

Since joining Onex, Julian Thomas has worked on the due diligence and execution of Onex' investment in SGS International. He remains actively involved with this company and also evaluates and conducts due diligence on new investment opportunities across a range of industries. Prior to joining Onex, Julian was with AEA Investors LP, a New York based Private Equity firm, where he was involved in mezzanine debt and equity co-investments. Prior to this he worked for Kanders & Company, a private investment firm, evaluating both private and public equity investments. Julian started his career within the Mergers & Acquisitions group at UBS in New York. Julian holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.S. in Economics from Duke University (cum laude). He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst.

 

Tod Trabocco ’02
Managing Director, LBC Credit Partners

Tod Trabocco is a Managing Director with LBC Credit Partners, responsible for managing the firm's research, due diligence, underwriting and credit policy, as well as serving on the firm's Investment Committee. In addition, Tod manages the firm's public loan market efforts. He has more than 15 years experience as a commercial banker, investment banker and analyst, and has executed, advised and managed over $2 billion in middle market loans and acquisitions in more than 10 countries. He is a member of the CFA Society of Philadelphia, the New York Society of Securities Analysts and the CFA Institute. He is also a CFA Charterholder.

 

Louis Spencer Wells ’97
Partner, TPG Opportunities

Spencer graduated from Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT in 1992 with a B.A. in Psychology.  In June of that year, he started in a training program at Dresdner Bank in New York.  After completing credit training at Chemical Bank, he returned to Dresdner where he was a junior loan officer in the Corporate Banking group, which was responsible for managing Dresdner’s lending relationships with large US corporates and the US subsidiaries of German companies.  He served in this role until June 1995.  In May 1997, he graduated from Columbia Business School with academic honors.

In September 1997 Spencer started work at Bankers Trust in London, having been hired into the High Yield origination group at BT. However, after a three month rotation on the Distressed Trading  Desk, Spencer requested and was given a permanent position there as a desk analyst.  In December 1998, immediately after the acquisition of BT by Deutsche Bank, Spencer moved back to New York and served in the same role on the Distressed Trading Desk there until May 2001.  He then moved to UBS Securities in Stamford, CT, where was co-head of the Distressed Research group. He left UBS in September 2002 to join Silver Point Capital.

Spencer was originally hired at Silver Point to cover the Energy sector, which he did until his retirement in August 2009.  In addition to Energy, Spencer at various times was also solely responsible (jointly in the case of Financials) for coverage of the Financials, Chemicals and Building Products sectors.  Spencer was primarily responsible for Silver Point’s investments in names such as Enron, Lehman Brothers, Exco Resources, Calpine, NRG, Dynegy, Mirant, Rockwood and Building Materials Corp to name a few.  Spencer was also responsible for the purchase and subsequent sale of a 100% interest in a CCGT power plant in Massachusetts that resulted in a 5x cash-on-cash return in approximately 18 months.  He served as a permanent member of the Portfolio Committee from its inception in March 2008 and as Head of Recruiting for the public-side investment business. In total, Spencer was responsible for well in excess of $1bn of profits while at Silver Point and his ROIC was in excess of that of the Funds generally in every year.  He was made a Partner in Silver Point’s Management Company in June 2007.

 

Alan Wilkinson ’84
Managing Director, AEA Investors

Mr. Wilkinson currently co-heads the AEA Small Business Fund and is a Partner of the AEA Middle Market Fund. Mr. Wilkinson serves on the Board of Directors of Dayton Parts, Lonestar Group, Phillips Feed and Pet Supply, PPC Industries, Shoes for Crews, Singer Equities, Sparrows Group, SRS Roofing Supply and Troxell Communications, Inc. He is involved in all aspects of the investment review process and portfolio company management at AEA and either led or co-led AEA's successful investments in Rubatex, Specialty Coatings International, Leiner Health Products, Sola International, and Mettler-Toledo. He also served as a director of Rand McNally. Prior to joining AEA, from 1984 to 1989, Mr. Wilkinson was with Lehman Brothers, first in the Mergers and Acquisitions department and then with the Principal Investment group. Mr. Wilkinson received an MBA from Columbia University and a BSc (First) in Mathematics from King's College London. He became a Chartered Accountant in England in 1980.