Private Debt Investor is pleased to present this year’s Rising Stars list of 40 individuals under the age of 40 who we believe have the potential to shape the future of the asset class. These young professionals were selected from nearly 150 peer nominations and recommendations from senior industry figures. The annual list shines a spotlight on those who have demonstrated noteworthy leadership, innovation and dealmaking skills, and have the talent to take the debt industry to new heights in the 2020s.
To view our Rising Stars of the legal profession, click here.
Akhil Bansal, 38
Managing director and head of product development, Carlyle Global Credit
Since joining Carlyle in February 2018 from KKR, where he spent six years, Bansal has played a key role in more than $4 billion of private credit transactions across the firm’s Global Credit platform.
He focuses on the creation of new strategies, capital formation initiatives and the development of investment solutions for Carlyle’s limited partners. Bansal also works closely with insurance companies, including Fortitude Re, a Carlyle investment in the reinsurance sector that closed in June.
Keith Bareman, 38
Director of fixed-income and credit, Indiana Public Retirement System
Bareman joined the $36 billion pension in June 2018 and, in addition to overseeing liquid fixed-income investments, has been building the private credit investment mandate. Since joining, he has sourced, structured, negotiated and closed more than $1 billion in commitments to various funds.
He has added to the portfolio the likes of European mid-market direct lending, special situations, asset-based lending, structured credit and speciality finance. In sum, he has made private debt a diversified and strategic part of the INPRS portfolio.
Jonathan Bock, 38
Managing director and chief financial officer, Barings BDC
Bock became one of the youngest CFOs of a publicly traded BDC when joining Barings in 2018 at the age of 36 from Wells Fargo. Since then, he has made Barings a market leader for commentary on BDC earnings and, as one supporter put it, “the poster child for shareholder alignment in the space”.
Bock has steered the Barings BDC portfolio away from a liquid strategy to direct lending and was instrumental in the launch of a $550 million joint venture with The State of South Carolina Retirement System.
Allie Bradford, 30
Principal, Americas leveraged finance, CPP Investments
Bradford operates at a senior level of credit opportunities investing within Toronto-based investment manager CPP Investments’ Americas leveraged finance group. She is cited for her ability to come up with innovative investment ideas and creative solutions to complex problems. Bradford is excellent, say her many supporters, at cultivating both internal and external relationships. She has also been a leading force behind CPP Investments’ ‘Women’s Initiative’, an employee-led group aiming to attract, develop and retain a greater number of high-performing female professionals.
Jamie Caruso, 33
Principal, Apollo Global Management
Described by one supporter as “a shooting star within the Apollo platform”, the former investment banker at Lehman Brothers and Barclays joined Apollo’s opportunistic credit group to execute special situations investments in a variety of industries.
Since then, he has worked his way up the ranks to head deal origination for more than $5 billion of assets under management for Apollo’s flagship Hybrid Value Strategy. Sources cite his involvement in numerous successful deals and his key contribution to the growth of the Apollo platform.
Nelson Chu, 32
Founder and chief executive, Cadence
Chu is one of private debt’s youngest and most impressive innovators, having in July last year launched a digital securitisation and investment platform that aims to bring greater transparency to the asset class.
Since its launch, Cadence has reportedly securitised over $100 million in short-term notes across more than 90 different offerings. It has also reportedly served as the structuring consultant on the first whole-business securitisation for an issuer with fewer than
500 franchise locations. Chu also pioneered a short-term note programme for speciality finance lenders.
Sean Connor, 37
Managing director, Owl Rock Capital Partners
Connor, in the words of a peer, “plays a vital leadership role” at New York-based Owl Rock, having been one of the first employees at the firm, which was formed in 2016. Since then, he has helped the firm to accumulate more than $17 billion in assets under management.
Connor is at the forefront of the firm’s fundraising activities within its private wealth business, including fund structuring, formation and capital raising. He also helped the firm develop a lower-cost BDC structure that was more accessible for individual investors.
Patrick Clancy, 29
Clancy, who joined KKR in 2015, was with the firm for just three years before being promoted to principal at the age of 27. With a focus on financial institutions and speciality finance, he has spent the past few years building the firm’s aircraft leasing business. He has helped transform the business from purchasing portfolios of assets to having its own captive platform, Altavair.
Clancy has also been involved in forming and growing a ship finance platform and expanding a private mortgage company for residential investors.
Bernard Galea, 33
Director, Muzinich & Co
Having joined pan-European fund manager Muzinich & Co as an associate in 2016, Galea has worked his way up the business and became a director earlier this year. Key deals he has worked on include events business FCBI, software firm Solid Solutions and healthcare company DHG.
Galea has been particularly active in financing bolt-on acquisitions, helping to deploy more than €250 million of capital in European lower mid-market companies and playing a role in the growth of the firm’s private debt business around Europe.
Frederik Domler, 33
Investment Director, PensionDanmark
PensionDanmark’s private debt team had only been up and running for two years when Domler was hired in 2017. He has since been a driving force behind its expansion into numerous new investment areas like regulatory capital, collateralised loan obligation equity and special situations.
Domler has spearheaded the formation of partnerships with other investors, such as Credit Suisse and USS, to provide financing solutions to European direct lending funds. He was also a key player in the direct lending deal that provided a vital funding injection for juice bar and coffee chain Joe & The Juice.
Alona Gornick, 39
Principal, Churchill Asset Management
Having joined Churchill’s parent company, Nuveen, in 2013 as a director focused on private placements, Gornick began developing and expanding Churchill’s mid-market private equity relationships in 2016. The following year she became a Churchill principal and the firm’s first full-time originator.
She now covers around 60 sponsors in the West Coast, South-West and Midwest regions of the US, thereby representing about 20 percent of Churchill’s coverage across the country. A strong promoter of diversity, Gornick originated $1.8 billion of deals from 2017 to 2019 – 26 percent of the firm’s total invested capital during that period.
Alexander Gorokhovskiy, 37
Head of principal corporate credit investing, Deutsche Bank
Described by one colleague as a “wonderful boss and true rising star in the world of private debt”, Gorokhovskiy leads a group that invests the bank’s balance sheet in private credit deals, both originated directly and through partners. Since founding the Corporate Solutions Pod in 2017, he has built up its portfolio with more than $1 billion of private credit assets.
Having started in technology at Deutsche Bank, Gorokhovskiy moved to the investing side and has since provided more than $5 billion of financing.
Greg Greifeld, 31
Managing director and head of credit, Runway Growth Capital
At only 31, Greifeld has become a leading name in the emerging venture debt market. At Runway, he leads a team overseeing the firm’s investments and has responsibility for due diligence, performance monitoring and deal structures. He also has seats on the investment, amendment and first deal review committees.
A keen eye for a successful deal is essential in venture debt, where target companies are often loss-making and shunned by other types of lender. Greifeld has been involved in some well-publicised deals such as LinkedIn/Drawbridge and Stryker/Mobius.
Adam Hermida, 33
Managing director, GSO Capital Partners
Hermida joined GSO in 2010 when he was hired from Moelis & Company as the first associate for the Capital Solutions strategy, which launched in 2009. The strategy provides flexible capital to strong companies facing temporary disruption and the team is now investing its third 2018-vintage fund, which closed on its hard-cap of $7 billion.
When the global pandemic struck, Hermida was tasked to lead the US origination effort for the fund. He also leads three of the fund’s largest positions: One Call Care Management, DCLI and Benihana.
Mustafa Humayun, 35
Partner and portfolio manager, Sagard Credit Partners
Humayun is portfolio manager of an opportunistic credit platform focused on the non-sponsored market in the US and Canada and, at a young age, has helped raise one of the largest first-time private credit funds in Canada.
He has developed a reputation for putting together bespoke, unorthodox deals for the non-sponsor market. One example was the $125 million senior secured term loan that he sourced and structured for gaming products company Everi Holdings in the aftermath of the initial covid-19 surge in April.
Avinash Kripalani, 37
Partner, Bardin Hill Investment Partners
Kripalani became one of the New York-based firm’s youngest partners at the age of 36 and focuses on investment research for the opportunistic credit strategy.
Since joining Bardin Hill in 2008, he has worked closely with chief executive Jason Dillow and other senior management on fostering the firm’s corporate culture and executing strategic goals and investment objectives. He has also created corporate and investor partnerships reportedly worth more than $2 billion of capital commitments, and creates customised products and solutions tailored to the needs of Bardin Hill’s investors.
Maxime Laurent-Bellue, 35
Managing director, Tikehau Capital
Having started his career with the Paris-based fund manager after graduation in 2007, Laurent-Bellue recently formed and heads up the firm’s tactical strategy business. He heads a team responsible for managing funds and separately managed accounts dedicated to European special situations and bespoke multi-asset solutions.
He was instrumental in forming a partnership with Fideuram-Intesa Sanpaolo Private Banking, through which €420 million was raised during Q4 2019 and Q1 2020 from almost 3,000 private Italian investors. He has also been key to the establishment and development of the firm’s €9 billion private credit platform.
Antonio de Laurentiis, 38
Global head of private debt, AXA-IM Real Assets
Having joined AXA-IM Real Assets in 2013 from Eurohypo, de Laurentiis has since assumed responsibility for originating, syndicating and restructuring commercial real estate loans in the UK, continental Europe and the US. The CRE private debt platform he leads has around €20 billion under management and 50 dedicated staff.
In the past year, de Laurentiis’s empire expanded with the addition of a lift-out team from Atlanta-based Quadrant Real Estate Advisors. This added both a new office and a 24-strong team.
Alex Odysseos, 32
Head of credit, Houlihan Lokey Private Funds Group
A capital raising specialist for a decade, Odysseos has collected more than €7 billion of capital over his career to date. While leading and overseeing the expansion of Houlihan Lokey’s private credit fundraising effort, he is also the lead advisor for all credit raises.
A keen writer on private credit and cited as going out of his way to mentor juniors, Odysseos has advised many of the asset class’s leading names, including the likes of Apera Asset Management and Kartesia. He was formerly a senior project manager at Campbell Lutyens.
Grace Paulsen, 30
Vice-president, Siguler Guff
Paulsen joined the New York-based investment firm earlier this year to be part of its sourcing, investment analysis, due diligence, execution and monitoring activities in the energy sector. The nominations for her were largely based around her time at Arena Investors, the alternative credit hedge fund where she was one of two investment professionals responsible for originating, underwriting and executing investments in the resources sector. The portfolio she managed included $400 million in investments. She was also the driving force behind a joint venture with corporate finance boutique Amvest Capital.
Josh Rosen, 33
Assistant vice-president, Aflac Global Investment
Since joining Aflac in 2015, Rosen has overseen the growth of the firm’s direct lending programme from $200 million to more than $3.5 billion and has responsibility for more than 300 companies in the direct lending portfolio.
In addition, he has been at the forefront of strategic relationships formed by Aflac, including the equity purchases at Varagon Capital (which involved a $3 billion commitment) and NXT ($500 million). He is also a regular on the conference circuit, where he shares his knowledge of the insurance space.
Maxime de Roquette-Buisson, 38
Managing director, Idinvest
In 2011, after four years with PwC, de Roquette-Buisson joined Idinvest’s private debt team, which then consisted of just three people. Sources say he has been instrumental in establishing the private debt activity, helping grow it from a €150 million French small-cap mezzanine mandate to a
€5 billion platform covering unitranche, mezzanine and leveraged loans. He has deployed €1.7 billion in mid-market deals for the business over the past eight years, has helped grow the team to 25, and oversees ESG issues within the underwriting process.
Ethan Shoemaker, 35
Managing director and investment principal, Orion Energy Partners
Lauded for his “incredible work ethic and tenacity for success”, Shoemaker had built a strong reputation in energy investment banking at Goldman Sachs before becoming the first senior hire and a founding member of fund manager Orion Energy Partners in 2015.
Shoemaker, who heads the firm’s Houston office – its first outside New York – is heavily involved in origination, structuring, execution, investment management and fundraising. He is also a member of the ESG committee and has led inner city-focused charity efforts.
Patrick Schafer, 35
Managing director, BC Partners
Schafer has been at the forefront of consolidation in the BDC space, including leading the externalisation of KCAP and closing the Oakhill Advisors merger with Portman Ridge.
He is one of the youngest chief investment officers in the BDC market, having joined BC Partners from Apollo Global Management. He leads investment activities and has repositioned acquired portfolios into BC-sourced and originated deals. One particular deal he is noted for was the $50 million loan to Anthem cable networks, which involved a complex merger and loan syndication.
Peter Troisi, 36
Partner and head of investments, Americas, Balbec Capital
Troisi joined Balbec a decade ago and helped to form and then expand the business. He counts as one of the innovators on this year’s list, having been part of a team that developed a niche strategy acquiring mortgages subject to Chapter 13 bankruptcy and grown it into an established franchise.
With responsibility for acquisitions, deal structuring and portfolio management in the Americas, Troisi also oversees the capital formation team – which recently closed the firm’s largest fund yet: the $1.2 billion InSolve Global Credit Fund IV.
Laura Vaughan, 35
Head of direct lending, Hermes
Having joined Federated Hermes in November 2015 as an associate director when its private debt platform was being launched, Vaughan has moved on from analysing potential fund investments to managing the direct lending team.
Since the team was formed, it has raised two direct lending funds focused on the UK and the rest of Europe. Vaughan was pivotal in the launch of these funds, developing origination agreements with partner banks, establishing policies and procedures, and marketing to investors. She also has a seat on the private debt investment committee.
George Velikov, 31
Investment professional, Cordet Capital Partners
One of the first to join Cordet in 2013 following roles with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and AXA, Velikov helped the firm’s founders develop a strategy focused on the lower mid-market in selected parts of Europe. When Cordet raised its first fund Velikov shared his time between operations/finance and the origination, credit analysis and execution of deals.
He now heads origination in the Benelux countries and has been instrumental in building the firm’s presence there. An investment professional, Velikov was also made deputy COO and compliance officer earlier this year.
Alex Walker, 39
Head of investment structuring and fund formation, Alcentra
Walker joined Alcentra in 2013 as a founding member of the direct lending business, and since then has played a key role in turning the platform into one of the largest in Europe with €11 billion of assets under management.
He is part of a senior management team that includes Peter Glaser, head of European direct lending, and Joanna Layton, head of portfolio monitoring. His role covers the structuring and restructuring of European debt investments, fund financing and the structuring of European direct lending funds, as well as several managed accounts.
Richard Wheelahan III, 39
Managing director and co-founder, Fund Finance Partners
After launching his career with law firm Mayer Brown in 2007, Wheelahan joined a lower mid-market asset manager, where he oversaw a new private equity fund, a BDC IPO, the firm’s first commingled institutional private credit fund and an SMA with a European consultant.
Last year, with Zac Barnett, he saw the need for specialised intermediation in the fund finance market and set up FFP. Since then, the firm has advised dozens of alternative asset managers on product development strategies, strategic deals and joint ventures as well as financings.
Rachel Zagajewski, 28
Vice-president, Park Square Capital
Since joining the firm five years ago, Zagajewski has been a core part of Park Square’s junior debt strategy, investing across subordinated loans, preferred equity and minority equity. Supporters referencing her deal successes often point to the second lien facility in support
of CVC’s take-private of Ahlsell last year. She is cited for her breadth of skills in areas such as financial modelling, legal negotiations, deal tactics and credit assessment. “Her contribution is always intelligent and well thought through,” says one source.
To view our Rising Stars of the legal profession, click here.