LAKE FOREST, Ill., Nov. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- James Zenni today announced the formation of Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. ("Z Capital"), a privately-held alternative asset management firm based in Lake Forest, Illinois. The new firm will initially establish a hedge fund to be seeded with Mr. Zenni's personal capital. The hedge fund will focus primarily on opportunities in the non-investment grade senior secured debt markets. Mr. Zenni is President and Managing Principal of Z Capital. He is the former President, co-owner, and co-founder of Black Diamond Capital Management, L.L.C. ("Black Diamond"), an alternative asset management firm established in 1995. Mr. Zenni co-led Black Diamond for over ten years from its inception until October 2006 when he divested his ownership interest in Black Diamond in a management buyout. Mr. Zenni said, "In a rapidly evolving investment landscape, I am very excited about this opportunity to lead a new firm and the initial hedge fund. We will be very disciplined with respect to our growth and, as opportunities arise, we will form a distressed debt-private equity fund to pursue control strategies. We are very fortunate to have assembled an extremely talented and experienced group of professionals, and I look forward to our future accomplishments." Six associates from Black Diamond, including the following three individuals, are joining Mr. Zenni at Z Capital: Christopher Kipley is a Principal of Z Capital and is a senior member of the investment team. Mr. Kipley is a former Managing Director and senior member of the investment team at Black Diamond. Mr. Kipley was with Black Diamond for over eight years underwriting investments in debt securities ranging from par credits to deeply distressed credits. Over the past few years, Mr. Kipley primarily had responsibility for distressed debt / private equity investments across multiple industries. Some of these investments included Classic Cable, Inc., New World Pasta Company, Saskatchewan Wheat Pool, Sleepmaster L.L.C., Smarte Carte Corporation, and Sun World International, Inc. Rahul Sawhney is a Managing Director of Z Capital and is a senior member of the investment team. Mr. Sawhney was previously a Senior Analyst at Black Diamond where he was responsible for the underwriting and oversight of debt investments in numerous industries including: Automotive; Business Equipment Services; Clothing and Textiles; Electronics; Leisure; and Utilities. Jon Schmugge is the Chief Financial Officer of Z Capital and is responsible for all aspects of Z Capital's accounting and financial reporting. Mr. Schmugge is a former Chief Accounting Officer of Black Diamond and was responsible for all aspects of Black Diamond's financial reporting, tax filings, and accounting. Mr. Schmugge was with Black Diamond for over nine years. Also joining Z Capital are: Martin Auerbach, Esq. is the Consulting General Counsel to Z Capital and a Director of Z Capital Finance L.L.C., and will oversee regulatory compliance and general corporate matters. Mr. Auerbach is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and has established a distinguished career spanning twenty-eight years. Mr. Auerbach has a Juris Doctor degree with honors from Harvard Law School and a Bachelors degree with high honors from Harvard College. Mr. Auerbach is in private practice and had a similar role with Black Diamond. Courtney McDermott is a Managing Director and the Head of Human Resources for Z Capital and is responsible for all aspects of the human resources function with a primary focus on recruiting. Prior to joining Z Capital, Ms. McDermott was Founder and Principal of Synergy-Search, Inc., a retained executive search firm. Client companies that Ms. McDermott served while at Synergy-Search included: McKinsey & Company; Deloitte Consulting; Cap Gemini Ernst & Young; Huron Consulting Group; Abbott Laboratories; Kraft General Foods; Pharmacia; Kaufman Hall; and Ziegler. Melonie Clark is a Senior Associate and Head of the Treasury and Settlements Department. Ms. Clark is joining Z Capital from Citadel Investment Group, L.L.C. ("Citadel") where she was an Associate and handled all aspects of loan settlements and operations. Prior to Citadel, Ms. Clark was a Senior Asset Funding and Closing Associate at Black Diamond and had similar responsibilities for several years. Chad Wettstein is an Associate in the Treasury and Settlements Department and manages and oversees trade settlements and related legal documentation. Mr. Wettstein is joining Z Capital from ING Investment Management Co., where he was a Funding and Settlement Manager and had similar responsibilities for over five years. Hang Yuan is Chief Information Officer and is responsible for the creation and implementation of proprietary systems to support portfolio and risk management. Mr. Yuan's prior experience includes several years at Goldman Sachs, Magic Trade, and Progeny Incorporated in similar capacities. At Goldman Sachs, Mr. Yuan was responsible for business requirement evaluation and design, development and testing of systems for various proprietary trading desks. Mr. Yuan has a Bachelors degree in Nuclear Physics from Fudan University and a Masters degree in Computer Science from DePaul University. Additional investment professionals have committed to join Z Capital in the first quarter of 2007. About Z Capital Partners Z Capital Partners, L.L.C. is a privately-held alternative asset management firm based in Lake Forest, Illinois. Under the leadership of President and Managing Principal James Zenni, the firm initially intends to create a hedge fund to focus primarily on opportunities in the non-investment grade senior secured debt markets.
SOURCE Z Capital Partners, L.L.C.