Gregory J. Corona
Chairman & Founder
Greg is the Chairman and Founder of Lakewood & Company, the successor entity to Lakewood Capital which he founded in 2005. Greg has more than 30 years of operating and investment experience as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director in the areas of manufacturing, technology, financial services, private equity and venture capital. He has been the lead principal or a participant in more than 50 institutional investments and transactions across various industries in the United States, Europe and China. Greg was also an Executive Advisor to DE Shaw where he provided operational and strategic assistance to numerous investments in the Industrials and Special Situations sectors. He was one of the original partners of Paladin Capital Group, a multi-stage private equity firm with over $1 billion under management and currently serves as a member of the Boards of Directors of certain Lakewood investments.
Greg received a Bachelors Degree in Finance from Michigan State University and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Detroit. He has completed Executive Education Programs at the Harvard Business School and the National Association of Corporate Directors where he received the Certificate of Director Education.
Operating Partner – Financial Services
Jim has over 29 years as a senior executive in the electronic payments and financial services industries. He has served as an executive in the Merchant Services Division of Bank of America and subsequently as Senior Vice President of Product, Technology and Marketing for BA Merchant Services, Inc., where he led the IPO and contributed to the creation of more than $1 billion of market value. In 1999, he became a founder of Merchant e-Solutions, Inc. (“MeS”), an electronic payments technology company, which was sold to Cielo S.A. in 2012 for $670 million. Since the sale of MeS, Jim has maintained his engagement in the electronic payments and financial services industries and is active as a member of several Board of Directors. He is also an investor and advisor to several early and middle stage companies in financial services including businesses in both Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Jim graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Michael has over 30 years of extensive experience with mergers and acquisitions and private placements of debt and equity capital. He is also the founder of Ballard Canyon Capital, an advisory firm providing senior-level mergers and acquisitions expertise to companies across a broad range of industries in the lower middle market. Michael brings a very unique perspective to private equity, having been an advisor and an investor in over 100 lower middle market transactions. Additionally, Michael maintains significant relationships in the financial community, particularly with respect to debt capital providers, such as banks and finance companies.
Prior to founding Ballard Canyon Capital, Michael spent fifteen years in senior positions at Cerberus Capital Management and Houlihan Lokey. Before attending graduate school, he worked at ING Equity Partners, a New York based private equity firm, and in Continental Bank’s leveraged finance group. Michael has also served on the board of directors and advisory boards for companies across a variety of industries, including business services, software, media and entertainment, manufacturing and home building.
Michael is a graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the Anderson School at UCLA.
Christopher J. Hagan
Outside Counsel, Perkins Coie LLP
Christopher Hagan is a Partner at Perkins Coie, LLP and serves as outside legal counsel and advisor to Lakewood. Mr. Hagan focuses his practice in the areas of private equity transactions, mergers and acquisitions, growth equity investments and general corporate law, with a specialty in representing portfolio companies of private equity funds. Chris has more than 25 years of experience representing private equity investment funds, hedge funds, family offices, fundless sponsors, mezzanine investors and institutional investors. He works with fund clients embarking on leveraged buyouts and buildups, industry consolidations and related formation documents, debt and equity financings, management equity arrangements, venture financings and divestitures. Mr. Hagan has worked on more than 350 mergers and acquisitions and has represented more 75 portfolio companies of private equity funds in his career.
Mr. Hagan earned a JD from Duke University and a B.A. in Economics and Management from Albion College.
Strategic Advisor – Life Sciences and Healthcare
Mr. Katz has been President of Steven Katz & Associates, Inc., a management consulting firm, for 35 years. As a result of his extensive experience, he provides a broad range of life science/healthcare-related advisory services, strategic guidance, assists in the development of strategic alliances and licensing transactions, and raises capital. He has also performed thirteen corporate turnaround assignments in the life science/healthcare space as CEO/COO, including U.S. and foreign companies, both public and privately-held. Mr. Katz has completed in excess of 60 strategic alliance and licensing transactions, has been a director of several public and privately-held companies and also participated in three proxy contests. His prior C-suite experience includes Citigroup, National Patent Development Corporation, Revlon, in addition to prior experience at PWC.
Mr. Katz graduated from the City College of New York with a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accounting.
Strategic Advisor – Capital Markets
With over 20 years of Capital Markets and Prime Services experience in senior positions in London and New York City, Mr. Smith is the owner of a FINRA/NFA regulated Broker/Dealer and a Capital Markets advisory firm. Mr. Smith started his banking career at Lehman Brothers and was in a senior sales position at the time of the integration of Lehman Brothers’ European assets with the Asian operations of Nomura. Mr. Smith then relocated to New York to lead Nomura’s American multi-asset class prime brokerage sales team. Mr. Smith joined Newedge USA in 2011 and continued through its acquisition by Société Générale and became Head of Prime Brokerage Sales, Americas in March of 2017.
Mr. Smith is a member of a number of boards and holds advisory positions within his Capital Markets ecosystem. His experience in senior roles within Capital Markets includes assisting management with complex integrations including execution and clearing and financing products within large global institutions. As a result, he has become a valuable strategic advisor for investment firms and management teams throughout the domestic and international Capital Markets.
Mr. Smith has a Bachelor of Science degree (Honors) from the University of Nottingham, England and holds the following licenses: FINRA Series 3, 7, 63 and 24.
Strategic Advisor – Financial Systems & Capital Markets
Brandon Stanford is a seasoned finance executive known for driving operational efficiencies and creating shareholder value. He brings a diverse industry perspective from holding senior finance positions in both public and private companies as well as a variety of industries including manufacturing, hospitality and human capital management. Brandon’s portfolio of companies include Callaway Golf Company, Marriott International, American Capital and Eastridge Workforce Solutions.
Brandon received a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management with a focus on International Finance from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University and a Masters of Business Administration from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.
Strategic Advisor – Automotive and Industrials
Sanjeev Varma is a professional Investment Banker and currently a Senior Advisor to the Chicago-based Investment Bank Lincoln International. Previously he was a Managing Director with Teneo Capital in New York, a Senior Advisor with Duff & Phelps in Detroit and Senior Advisor to Chanin Capital Partners in Los Angeles. He has 35 years of experience; 20 years in Corporate and 15 years in Consulting and Investment Banking. Sanjeev has provided analysis/evaluation of companies to Bond Holders, Private Equity and Hedge Funds and consulting services to numerous industrial companies. During his two decades in the auto industry he has worked in senior positions at Magna Corporation, New Venture Gear and Chrysler Corp and visited more than 300 Engineering Design and Manufacturing facilities worldwide. He started his professional working career with Chrysler Corporation in 1984.
Sanjeev has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in India, and a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University. He has completed Executive Education Programs in Finance & Marketing at Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania.
Strategic Advisor – Software and Infrastructure
Chetan is CEO and President of Macrometa Corp. and a repeat entrepreneur and executive focused on building enterprise data center, cloud infrastructure and software products & companies. He brings a strong competency in helping early stage teams identify and exploit product-market fit, develop early customer wins, develop strong channel and enterprise direct sales motions for scaling startups from pre-revenue to growth stage and profitability. Chetan is very experienced in building strong and productive teams in sales, product development, product management, stage centric positioning with customers and partners, venture scaling and capital raising.
Prior to founding and managing Macrometa, Chetan was founder, CTO and then CEO of Atlantis Computing – a pioneering software defined storage company that won international acclaim for its use of smart data virtualization to accelerate and deliver data tor mission critical applications to the Fortune 1000.