Castle Harlan President Justin Wender Resigns; Howard Morgan and Bill Pruellage Appointed Co-Presidents

NEW YORK, Aug. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Castle Harlan, Inc., the New York private equity investment firm, announced today that its president, Justin Wender, has resigned from the firm and its associated companies, effective immediately.  The firm also announced that it has appointed Howard Morgan and Bill Pruellage, two of its senior managing directors, as co-presidents. Morgan and Pruellage will assume all the responsibilities formerly handled by Wender.

Castle Harlan said, "This management realignment is an important step in the evolution of the leadership of our firm and partnership.  Morgan and Pruellage have 40 years of combined investment experience.  In addition to sharing the role of President, Morgan and Pruellage will continue to actively lead investments for the firm. Notably, in recent months, Pruellage led the February acquisitions of Pretium and Novapak, and Morgan lead the June acquisition of IDQ."

In a combined statement, Morgan and Pruellage said, "We are very excited to continue to build and grow Castle Harlan as a leading middle market buyout firm.  Fundraising of Castle Harlan Partners V is now complete.  The new fund has made two significant investments in recent months, and we have $700 million of remaining capital to invest over the next five-plus years."  They continued, "We have an excellent management team with significant investment experience and a deeply shared culture of successfully buying and growing market-leading businesses."

On the departure of Justin Wender, Castle Harlan stated that "we deeply respect Justin's professionalism, hard work and contributions to our growth during his last 17 years with our firm, and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

Wender said, "John Castle and Leonard Harlan have been mentors to me over the years, and I have had many wonderful opportunities at the firm for which I am deeply appreciative. I have the utmost respect for them both.  After 17 years at Castle Harlan, I have made the difficult decision that it makes sense for me to move on. I wish John, Leonard and all my colleagues at the firm the very best. I expect to assess and announce my next steps in due course."

Castle Harlan, founded in 1987, invests in controlling interests in the buyout and development of middle-market companies in North America and Europe. Its team of 19 investment professionals has completed 51 acquisitions since its inception with a total value in excess of $9.6 billion.  Castle Harlan currently manages investment funds with equity commitments of $2.5 billion.  The firm traces its roots to the start of the institutionalized private-equity business in the late 1960s.

Castle Harlan's current portfolio of companies, which employ more than 37,500 people, includes Baker & Taylor, the world's largest distributor of books and entertainment products to libraries and retailers; Pretium Packaging LLC, one of the country's leading manufacturers of custom-designed specialty plastic containers for the food, pharmaceutical, personal-care and household markets; and IDQ Holdings, Inc., the industry leader in Do-it-Yourself, branded products for servicing and repairing automotive air conditioners.  For more information, visit www.castleharlan.com.

CHAMP Private Equity was formed in 2000 by Castle Harlan, Inc., of New York and Australian Mezzanine Investments Ltd. (AMIL) of Sydney.  CHAMP and AMIL constitute Australia's longest established private equity investor, and funds advised by them have made some 60 investments since 1987 in companies operating in Australia and New Zealand.  The combined worldwide funds of CHAMP and Castle Harlan amount to approximately US$5.5 billion.

CHAMP Funds have made investments in a variety of sectors in companies such as Austar Communications, Bradken Limited and Penrice Limited.  Current CHAMP Private Equity investments include International Energy Services, Health Care Australia, Manassen Foods, Study Group International, Bluestar Print Group, Golding Contractors, LCR Lindores, Alleasing and Centric Wealth. For further information on CHAMP Private Equity visit www.champequity.com.

SOURCE Castle Harlan



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