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Capt. Eric. H. May Archive



by Becky Yerak
Chicago Tribune
April 21, 2006

Chicago is Rudolph Giuliani's kind of town, at least when it comes to investment banking.

The former New York City mayor and potential 2008 presidential candidate formed Giuliani Capital Advisors LLC in December 2004 with a 39-employee headquarters in Chicago and offices in five other U.S. cities.

Since it opened, the Chicago office has grown to 44 workers, including seven partners, and is "looking to add a couple of partners over the next several months," said Mick Solimene, a Giuliani Capital managing director in Chicago. "We're looking to expand in all of our offices and are looking to add both managing directors and professionals at all levels."

The firm, which provides restructuring, merger-and-acquisition and capital markets advisory services, also has offices in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York and Troy, Mich. It recently sold its four-person San Francisco office to Imperial Capital LLC.

Chicago is also its biggest office. It has worked on deals involving such companies as Minneapolis-based Musicland Holding Corp., which in January filed for bankruptcy and recently announced plans to close 340 stores, and Refco Inc., the Chicago-based brokerage that filed for bankruptcy late last year. Giuliani represents creditors of both companies.

Giuliani stops into the firm's 20,000-square-foot Chicago office on the 53rd floor of the Sears Tower whenever he's in the city, which is "a few times a year," Solimene said.

And the former mayor is no figurehead.

"He's involved in our business," Solimene said, declining to elaborate.

Before joining Giuliani, Solimene was a managing director with the global special situations group of Banc of America Securities LLC, where he managed an $800 million fund that invested in such distressed companies' obligations as bank debt, junk bonds and convertible debentures.

Solimene has a bachelor's degree in finance from Western Illinois University and a master's in business administration from the University of Chicago.

Giuliani's managing directors in Chicago also include Tom McDonald, a former Ernst & Young professional who previously worked in finance during the start-up of General Motors Corp.'s Saturn division, and Phil Van Winkle, a former Banc of America Securities principal, McKinsey & Co. consultant and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission economist.

Also this month, Giuliani Capital's New York office hired Geoffrey Richards as a managing director. Richards had been a partner in Chicago-based Kirkland & Ellis LLP's restructuring department, where his clients included United Airlines. Richards also has been an adjunct law professor at Northwestern University since 2001.

Giuliani Capital is an affiliate of New York-based consulting firm Giuliani Partners LLC.

Where are they now: David Van de Walle, a former spokesman for Chicago-based insurance brokerage and consulting firm Aon Corp., has started an Evanston-based business called U Sphere Inc., a Web-based tool for students looking for colleges. aims to match students and colleges through a portal that tries to offer "college admissions made easy."

Nobel hedges: The group that funds Nobel Prizes is investing in hedge funds for the first time to diversify its portfolio, the Financial Times reported.

Until recently, "we could not invest in alternatives due to investment rules requiring a high degree of liquidity," a Nobel Foundation official said.



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