Highlander hires former KMPG exec as partner

The Dallas-based firm has hired Drew Koecher to focus on leveraged buyouts and recapitalisations.

Highlander Partners has hired former KPMG executive Drew Koecher as a partner, according to a statement.

Koecher will focus on leveraged buyouts, recapitalisations and growth financings in a variety of industries. He joins Highlander from KMPG, where he worked for 15 years focusing on corporate and financial M&A transactions. He was appointed head of the firm’s restructuring services group in 2009. Koecher previously worked at PwC and Chicago-based accounting firm Arthur Andersen, which closed its doors after being found guilty of criminal charges relating to its work auditing energy corporation Enron.

Highlander has also hired Allen Schaar as an operating partner. Scharr was the interim president of Highlander portfolio company Eagle Healthcare Physicians during 2013 and previously a partner and president of Bain & Company’s corporate renewal group. Scharr officially joined Highlander last summer, according to the statement.

Highlander has managed more than $600 million of principal funds that make direct private equity investments in the US and Central Europe. The firm makes investments in businesses with between $10 million and $500 million of sales in the basic manufacturing and industrials, building materials, business services, food and consumer products sectors according to its website.

Highlander invests between $10 million and $50 million per transaction for control stakes in US companies and between €5 million and €15 million per deal in Europe.

The firm’s portfolio companies include Chicago-based juice and beverage concentrates company Juice Tyme and Warsaw-based long-term care and impatient rehabilitation services company MEDI-System, according to its website.

Highland also provides mezzanine financing of between $10 million and $25 million to US companies. The firm is led by co-founders chairman Laurence Hirsch, who was previously the chief executive officer and chairman of homebuilding and financial services company Centex Corporation, and president Michael Nicolais. The firm is based in Dallas and also has an office in Warsaw.