Avalon Acquisition Inc.
- Financial Services, FinTech, Technology, Alternative Asset Management, Logistics, Insurance
Donald H. Putnam has been our Executive Chairman since October 12, 2020. Mr. Putnam founded Grail Partners, LLC, a private investment and M&A advisory firm focused on financial services, in 2005. Prior to founding Grail, he founded Putnam Lovell Securities, an investment banking firm, in 1987, and led the firm as its Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board from its founding until the firm’s sale in 2002, after which he served as CEO and Vice Chairman of Putnam Lovell NBF Securities, a subsidiary of Nation Bank/Cananda. From 1985 to 1987, Mr. Putnam served as President and Chief Operating Officer at Inference Corporation, a Rockefeller-backed AI company serving NASA, AmEx, and investment banks with LISP-based AI solutions, where Mr. Putman initiated an early algorithmic trading systems and funded the development of MarketMind, the first AI high frequency trading application, later to be delivered by Jeffries & Co and ITG, its publicly traded subsidiary.
From 1979 to 1985, Mr. Putnam held senior positions at SEI Corporation, including President of its mutual funds division and head of Corporate Development, in which capacity he oversaw the acquisition and leadership of Becker Funds Evaluation, Merrill Lynch Funds Evaluation, and other smaller purchases. Prior to joining SEI, Mr. Putnam was a Senior Consultant at Catallactics Corporation (a subsidiary of SunGard), in which capacity he devised systematic portfolio management strategies for Bankers Trust Company, J.P. Morgan, The Boston Company, The Northern Trust Company, and other clients. From 1973 to 1978, he designed index fund and quantitative investment products at Bankers Trust Company, a trust company. His education includes NYU and Courant Institute, with double major in mathematics (topology) and computer science (matrix/cluster analysis).
We believe that Mr. Putnam’s qualifications to serve on our board include his vast experience advising and investing in companies within the financial services space, his track-record of building and managing financial services companies, and his track-record of identifying industry trends.
S. Craig Cognetti, CFA, has been our Chief Executive Officer since October 12, 2020. Mr. Cognetti leads the principal investing practice at Grail Partners, a private investment and M&A advisory firm focused on financial services. Prior to joining Grail in 2006, Craig was with a New York City-based alternative investment firm Chelsey Capital. From 2002-2004, he was an officer at Mellon Ventures, the $1.4 billion private equity division of Mellon Financial, a global financial services firm. He focused on buyouts and financial services deals credit cards, trading platforms, and portfolio management. From 2000-2002, Craig served in the Corporate Strategy and Development group at Mellon, working on M&A transactions. He led an initiative to increase Mellon’s presence in separate accounts and built an alternative asset management platform. Earlier, Mr. Cognetti led a division of TRL, a transportation services company. Mr. Cognetti has a BS in Business Administration from Georgetown and an MBA from The Wharton School. Craig has completed the International Finance and Management program at Oxford University and is a CFA Charterholder.
John Griff has been our President since October 12, 2020. Mr. Griff joined Manifold Partners LLC, an artificial intelligence hedge fund manager, as President in 2018. Mr. Griff’s 40-year financial services career has spanned capital markets, investment banking and asset management. From 2011 to 2013, he served as COO of the publicly held Gleacher & Company, an investment bank specializing in Advisory, Capital Markets, Fixed Income, and Private Equity, where he was also CEO of the broker-dealer subsidiary of Gleacher & Company. From 2008 to 2010, Mr. Griff served as Strategic Advisor to the CEO at LNR Property Corporation, a commercial real estate company, where he shared responsibility for LNR’s European business units, including a Commercial Real Estate fund, where he was responsible for a 500mil Sterling CRE portfolio. From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Griff served as President of Putnam Lovell, an investment bank specializing in the financial services sector.
Prior to Putnam Lovell, from 1997 to 2002, Mr. Griff was CEO of HSBC USA, Inc., a subsidiary of a global financial services firm, leading the bank’s US based investment banking business, and serving as co-Head of Global Fixed Income. He was responsible for one of the largest risk positions in Fixed Income. Mr. Griff established Merchant banking businesses at each of NationsBanc, HSBC, Putnam Lovell, and Gleacher. He chaired each Investment Committee of each group and sat on the Boards of nearly all portfolio companies.
Mr. Griff also served in senior roles at then NationsBanc Capital Markets, a banking firm, from 1993 to 1997; Lehman Brothers, a global investment bank, from 1989 to 1993; and Merrill Lynch, a global investment bank from 1986 to 1989. Mr. Griff advises high school and college coaches and athlete directors on leadership skills. Mr. Griff is a graduate of Fordham University where he earned a BS degree majoring in Finance and Marketing.
R. Rachel Hsu has been our CFO since October 12, 2020. In 2019, Ms. Hsu joined Grail Partners LLC, a private investment and M&A advisory firm focused on financial services, and Manifold Partners, LLC, an artificial intelligence hedge fund manager, as CFO of both firms, after a sabbatical to raise her family between 2009 and 2019. Starting in 2003, she spent six years at Hall Capital Partners LLC, a private investment advisory firm to ultra-high-net-worth families and individuals. She joined Hall Capital Partners LLC as corporate controller and was CFO of the firm’s funds when she departed to raise her daughter. After graduating from the University of North Carolina with a Masters in Accounting and a B.S. in Business Administration, Ms. Hsu joined accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a global accounting firm, in 1994. After her public accounting career, Rachel served as the controller at Putnam Lovell Securities Inc., an investment bank/broker-dealer focused on financial services, from 2000 to 2002. Ms. Hsu holds an inactive CPA license from North Carolina.
Steven Gluckstern has agreed to serve as our director upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part. Mr. Gluckstern currently serves as the Founding Board Member at three diverse and innovative organizations: Santa Fe Farms LLC (a 500+ acre farm in New Mexico using regenerative farming techniques to grow and process organic hemp initially for CTHC free cannabinoid production); Teachercraft, LLC (a new digitally-based education company focused on the improvement of student outcomes through the development and implementation of a curricular-based on-line Professional Learning systems designed for the retraining of America’s public school teachers); and the newly-formed #WeAre Foundation (a foundation built to amplify voices that emphasize our shared humanity through the connective power of the Arts.) Appointed by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in 2019, Mr. Gluckstern currently serves as Chair of the New Mexico Education Retirement Board which oversees the state’s $13 billion+ education trust fund. From 2011 to 2017, Mr. Gluckstern was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rio Grande Neurosciences, Inc, a medical technology firm pioneering the development of a wide range of electromagnetic field therapies. Mr. Gluckstern co-founded Centre Reinsurance in 1998, one of the fastest-growing reinsurance enterprises in history, which was acquired by Zurich Financial Services Group, a global insurance firm in 1993. At Centre Reinsurance, in addition to holding various executive and financial positions, Mr. co-founded the $4+ billion Capital Z Partners, an alternative asset/private equity management firm. Previously, Mr. Gluckstern worked for investor Warren Buffet from 1986 to 1987 and during that time served as General Manager of reinsurance operations for the Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group, a holding company, President of Columbia Insurance Company, an insurance firm, and Senior Vice President of National Indemnity Company, an insurance firm. Earlier in his career he was Chief Financial Officer of Healthco Inc., then the world’s largest distributor of dental products from 1984 to 1986. Mr. Gluckstern has also applied his entrepreneurial skills to numerous educational programs and philanthropic causes, serving on a wide range of boards over the past 40 years. Mr. Gluckstern holds a B.A. and Honorary Doctorate from Amherst College, an Ed.D. and Honorary Doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, and an M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
We believe that Mr. Gluckstern’s qualifications to serve on our board include his long history of entrepreneurship, of building and managing businesses and of investing in innovative companies.
John L. Klinck Jr. has agreed to serve as our director upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part. Since 2016, Mr. Klinck is an active angel investor and a Managing Partner of Hyperplane Venture Capital, a venture capital firm, where he has led FinTech investing across a range of seed stage companies using advanced technologies such as machine learning to solve front and back office business problems. From 2006 to 2015, Mr. Klinck was an executive vice president at State Street, a global financial services firm, where he founded Alternative Investment Solutions providing hedge fund and private equity administration. He also founded the data and analytics business called Global Exchange and served as Head of Strategy/M&A. Before joining State Street in 2006, Mr. Klinck was a Vice Chairman at BNY Mellon, a global financial services firm, President of Investment Manager Solutions and CEO of the company’s European businesses. He is also a current member of the Boards of Directors of Cardlytics, XCHG and Notarize . Mr. Klinck has a BA from Middlebury College and an M.B.A from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
We believe that Mr. Klinck’s qualifications to serve on our board include his experience in managing and innovating large financial services organizations, his deep knowledge of financial services and financial technology and his experience in identifying and investing in technology driven financial services companies.
Douglas C. Mangini has agreed to serve as our director upon the effectiveness of the registration statement of which this prospectus forms a part. From June 2020 through December 2020, Mr. Mangini served as Senior Managing Director, Senior Advisor to Intermediary Distribution and member of Guggenheim Partners’ Senior Leadership Committee. From May 2012 through June 2020, Mr. Mangini served as Senior Managing Director, Head of Intermediary Distribution at Guggenheim Investments and member of Guggenheim Partners’ Senior Leadership Committee. Prior to joining Guggenheim, he held senior distribution roles at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Nationwide Financial Services. Over his 30 plus year career in financial services industry, he has built and managed investment and insurance distribution platforms at firms including, Guggenheim Investments, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Nationwide Financial Services. Within financial product distribution, Mr. Mangini has managed strategy, product, marketing, relationship management and sales groups. He has distributed a broad range of financial products including mutual funds, ETFs, alternative investments, UITs, retirement plans, annuities and life insurance to a broad spectrum of financial intermediaries including wirehouse and regional broker-dealers, independent broker-dealers, registered investment advisors, third-party investment advisors and retirement platforms. At Guggenheim and Morgan Stanley, he participated in the sale of ETF and mutual fund business units, respectively. Mr. Mangini received a BS Accounting from St. Joseph’s University and JD from New York Law School.
We believe that Mr. Mangini’s qualifications to serve on our board include his experience in managing and innovating large financial services organizations, his deep knowledge of financial services and his experience in identifying and capitalizing on trends that drive growth across the industry.