Jay Lifton is the Chief Executive Officer, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Persephone Capital Partners. Mr. Lifton has over 25 years of corporate finance, capital markets, private equity/distressed investing and corporate restructuring experience. Most recently, Mr. Lifton was co-head of J.P. Morgan's Investor Driven Capital Markets (financings focused on mid market companies and DIP, Exit and Rescue lending). His previous position was as Managing Director in J.P. Morgan's Fixed Income Credit Trading Group specializing in distressed investment opportunities in the Americas. Mr. Lifton played a prominent role in building the franchise in Distressed Debt and High Yield at JPM during his 12 years in Credit Trading. Prior to J.P. Morgan, Mr. Lifton was in the Corporate Restructuring Group at The Bank of New York, and in International Trade Finance at Irving Trust.
Mr. Lifton has served as chairperson on several international bankruptcy committees and numerous boards of directors, and is currently on the board of Renewable Biofuels, Inc. and had been most recently on the boards of Bally Total Fitness and Safety Kleen Inc. Previously, Mr. Lifton has served on boards for companies in the chemical, healthcare, manufacturing, power and transportation sectors. Mr. Lifton currently serves as an observer on the New York State Financial Control Board.
Mr. Lifton is active in national politics and hosts regular meetings with leading congressional members. Additionally, Mr. Lifton is on the board of and an active member of JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, which promotes American security interests with first responders, senior military officers and foreign officials of like-minded countries).
Mr. Lifton received a B.A. in Economics from S.U.N.Y. at Stony Brook, and an M.B.A. from Baruch College.
Frank Plimpton is a Co-founder and General Partner of Persephone Capital Partners. Mr. Plimpton is a 30 year veteran of distressed investing and reorganizations. Since 2009, Mr. Plimpton has been making direct and special situations investments. Previously, Mr. Plimpton served as a partner at MatlinPatterson Global Advisors LLC from its inception in July 2002 through 2008, and was a member of its predecessor, the Distressed Securities Group at Credit Suisse First Boston (starting in Tokyo). In addition to his activities as an investment principal, Mr. Plimpton played a key role in the unique financial and legal structuring of the MatlinPatterson funds (the first distressed-for-control private equity fund with blind capital calls for trading positions), also creating their track record data and managing investor due diligence. Mr. Plimpton worked as a distressed investor with Smith Management Company where he also was the FINRA Principal, Pegasus Financial and Wexford Capital Advisors; as an M&A/Restructuring investment banker with PaineWebber Incorporated (now part of UBS) and Solomon Brothers, Inc. (now part of Citicorp); and as a bankruptcy lawyer with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.
Mr. Plimpton has held numerous board memberships, currently serving on the board of National Holdings Corporation where he is a shareholder, and having previously served on the boards of XL Health Company, Broadpoint Securities (now Gleacher & Company), NRG Energy, Inc., KGen Power LLC, Renewable BioFuels LLC, NorthernStar Natural Gas LLC, Railworks Corporation, Oxford Automotive, Inc. and Aokam Perdana Berhad.
Mr. Plimpton holds a BA in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard College (cum laude). Mr. Plimpton received a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Mr. Sorokin is a Co-Founder and General Partner of Persephone Capital Partners. Mr. Sorokin is a 25-year veteran of Zolfo Cooper, Mr. Sorokin is a highly-regarded expert in interim management, corporate restructuring and operational advisory services to companies in a wide range of industries. Mr. Sorokin recently acted as Interim CEO of Ener1, a lithium battery manufacturer. Prior to Ener1, he was responsible for restructuring businesses, most recently for Medical Staffing Network, Vertis Communications and for IWP International. Mr. Sorokin is currently the Principal of Sorokin and Associates, LLC.
Mr. Sorokin's broad experience includes international business and supply chain management, particularly in Europe and China. In addition to the role of interim CEO, he has acted in a senior advisor role to more than 40 companies, in and out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Sorokin was recently on the board of directors of Medical Staffing Network Healthcare and Pacific Ethanol, and has served on the board of directors of four additional companies over the past decade.
Mr. Sorokin received a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University.
James S. Gilmore III, is President of the Free Congress Foundation (www.freecongress.org). Free Congress offers bi-partisan conservative solutions to the economic challenges facing America. Additionally, he has served on eight corporate boards of directors. Mr. Gilmore was the 68th Governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002. He also served as chief prosecutor for Henrico County, and was elected Attorney General of Virginia in 1993. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army. In 2003, Mr. Gilmore served as chairman of the Air Force Academy Board of Visitors. Mr. Gilmore was the Chairman of the Republican National Committee from 2001 to 2002. From 1999 to 2003, he served as Chairman of the Congressional panel to assess America’s capabilities to respond to a terrorist attack. This panel is known as the "Gilmore Commission". Mr. Gilmore graduated from the University of Virginia, and the UVA School of Law. He is married to Roxane Gatling Gilmore and they have two sons.
Mr. Phillips has extensive experience in project finance and energy and renewable energy development. Mr. is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Renewable Bio Fuels, Inc., which he co-founded, a company that developed, owns and operates the largest bio diesel production facility in North America - a 200 million gallon per annum facility that commenced operations in 2008. Previously he was Senior Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary, Assistant Treasurer of NorthernStar Natural Gas, LLC.
From 2004-2006, Mr. Phillips was employed at Chadbourne & Parke LLP where he was a member of the Project Finance and Private Equity Practice Groups. His practice was focused on energy transactions related to the natural gas and LNG, power generation and renewable fuels industries.
Mr. Phillips holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a juris doctor from South Texas College of Law.
Lewis Kruger, Co-Chair of Stroock’s Financial Restructuring Group, is an internationally recognized expert on insolvency law. Mr. Kruger with over 40 years of experience has played a major role in many of the significant reorganization proceedings in the United States.
Recognized by his peers as an expert, Mr. Kruger serves as the International Bar Association's liaison to the United Nations Committee on International Trade Law (2008 to date), and has been selected as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.
He has been a frequent lecturer on bankruptcy law for the Practising Law Institute and for Bar Associations in the United States and abroad. In addition, Mr. Kruger has taught insolvency courses at Columbia Law School (1972 to 1988 and 2010 to date), New York University School of Law (2008 to 2009) and has lectured at Harvard Law School and Kings College, Oxford.
Mr. Kruger pursues a wide array of interests beyond insolvency including his current position as Chairman of the Board of the Museum of Art & Design in the City of New York. His past public service includes Special Counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary with respect to corporate reorganization and as Special Counsel to the Governor of New York and the New York State Urban Development Corporation (1974–1976).
Mr. Soanes has over 20 years experience in the energy industry and is currently the President and CEO of Renewable Bio Fuels, Inc., which he co-founded, a company that developed, owns and operates the largest bio diesel production facility in North America - a 200 million gallon per annum facility that commenced operations in 2008. Previously, he was President of NorthernStar Natural Gas, Inc. Mr. Soanes was a founder and principal with ESI Holdings, LP, a consulting and energy development firm which provided services to domestic and international firms in the development of energy infrastructure projects and strategy in the power generation, natural gas and liquefied natural gas industries.
From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Soanes served as Director, Business Development for CMS Energy where he was responsible for the business development activities in the natural gas pipeline, marketing and trading, electric generation and LNG industries.
From 1991 to 2000, Mr. Soanes served in various positions with ARCO including Vice President - Commercial Development - Asia for ARCO Global Energy Ventures where he was responsible for strategic planning and development of ARCO Global Energy Venture's natural gas monetization activities in Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Mr. Soanes graduated with a bachelor's degree in commerce from Murdoch University, Western Australia. He is an Australian Chartered Accountant.
Mr. White is President and Chief Executive Officer of KGen Power Corporation, a Houston based public stock company focusing on the ownership and operation of gas fired electric generating plants in North America. Prior to joining KGen, Mr. White was a director of Stark Investments, a multi-strategy asset management firm with over $14 billion in assets under management. At Stark, Mr. White was responsible for the identification, evaluation, and closing on private equity type investments in physical energy assets and businesses, as well as supporting investments made through other asset strategies including risk arbitrage and commodity hedging structures. Prior to Stark Investments, Mr. White was an officer and Managing Director of Marathon Capital, LLC, a boutique investment banking firm focusing on the power generation and renewable energy markets. At Marathon Capital, Mr. White was the principal executive responsible for banking, origination and marketing activities which included the sourcing, evaluation, and closing of non-recourse financing structures for renewable and conventional energy assets and for managing financial consulting efforts with corporate clients in the acquisition and divestiture of energy assets and portfolios in these markets. From 1996 to 2002, Mr. White was senior director, Development, for Duke Energy North America and was a founding officer and Vice President, Industrial Services, for Duke Energy’s energy services company, DukeSolutions, Inc. Prior to Duke Energy, Mr. White was a Vice President, Development, with Indeck Energy Services. Prior to Indeck, Mr. White held various management positions with the engineering design and consulting firms of Impell and Sargent & Lundy. Mr. White received his Bachelor of Sciences in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Illinois. From 2004 to 2007, Mr. White was a Registered Representative and held Series 7 and Series 63 Licenses. Mr. White is currently a Director of Renewable Biofuels, a Houston-based biofuel production company.
Chas Walker is a disciplined, creative investment banker and financier with sound judgment and excellent structuring, valuation, negotiation and due diligence skills. Mr. Walker has originated and executed over $25 billion of highly negotiated, complex investments and financings across the capital structure, including private equity, high yield bonds, leveraged buyouts, PPPs, restructurings, convertible bonds, infrastructure debt and equity, recapitalizations, IPOs, M&A and strategic advisory.
He advises principals and investors in mining, power, energy, financial services, housing, consumer and infrastructure ventures focused on Africa. His network of relationships covers over a dozen African countries. He is currently affiliated with Marco Polo Partners as Managing Director with responsibility for investment banking and private equity advisory services in Africa.
Mr. Walker joined Marco Polo Network in January 2008 as Managing Director of Marco Polo AFRICA. He formulated the company’s Pan-African strategic and business development plan and established C-level relationships with bond and stock exchanges, banks, brokers, dealers, corporates, private equity firms, institutional investors, regulators and governments in leading African markets. He expanded the Marco Polo Network in Africa by negotiating strategic agreements with local partners in Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, initiating ECN trading markets for fixed income and FX in Nigeria and Kenya, and structuring a financial services joint venture in Angola.
Mr. Walker structured Marco Polo’s African capital markets and financial infrastructure fund and led marketing to FDIs. He has been a presenter at Africa Investor, TradeTech and African Stock Exchanges Association conferences, where he extols the virtues of “Composite Africa” as the most compelling emerging market investment destination for institutional, M&A and private equity investors. He believes the following sectors hold the keys to the next decade of opportunity in Africa: 1) Food, Agriculture & Water, 2) Power & Alternative Energy, 3) Infrastructure, 4) Logistics & Transportation, 5) FMCG & Retail, 6) Natural Resources, 7) Electronic Transactions & Financial Services and 8) Energy & Energy Services. Mr. Walker has over 20 years of investment banking, capital markets and investment experience. He has served as a principal in Walker Capital Strategies (WCS), a vehicle to make deep value investments and transform operations, with a particular focus on special situations, distressed control acquisitions and turnarounds. Prior thereto, he was a senior member of a merchant banking boutique focused on buyouts, private equity and growth capital financings for special situations, privatizations and start-ups of telecom, media, broadband, wireless, content and e-commerce enterprises.
Mr. Walker co-developed, led capitalization and served as Managing Principal of Strategic Resource Partners, a $675 million fund providing bridge loans and “one-stop” financing to private equity firms in leveraged buyout transactions. As a Senior Vice President in the Leveraged Finance Group with Lehman Brothers, Mr. Walker advised financial sponsors and led origination and execution of high yield bond, leveraged loans, distressed M&A and acquisition transactions for industrial, consumer, transportation, energy, utility, structured finance and infrastructure clients.
He has served on the Board of Directors of many companies, including Intercontinental Life Insurance Company (Dakar, Senegal). He has worked with OPIC, IFC, African Development Bank, African Export-Import Bank, NYSE Euronext and private insurers to develop credit enhancement and other structures to improve access to international capital markets for African sovereign and corporate issuers. Mr. Walker received his MBA from Harvard Business School and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan.