Though he toyed with the idea of retirement when Westport Resources merged with Kerr-McGee in 2004, it took only about two months for Westport Resources' chairman and chief executive Don Wolf to make the decision to stay in the energy business. At the time of the $3.5 billion (€2.8 billion) merger, Wolf had worked at Westport Resources since 1996. “I decided I would take one more run,” says Wolf, laughing, of his resolve to continue working.
Wolf, 63, joined Aspect Energies, a Denver-based company that deals with independent oil and gas exploration and investments, as president and CEO. Aspect Energies teamed up with Quantum Energy Partners in August to raise Quantum Resources. The debut acquisition fund raised $1.2 billion, $425 million more than its target goal of $750 million, a press statement about the fund said. Wolf will lead the fund's investment activities as CEO.
While at Westport Resources, Wolf worked on direct asset purchases, and he will use this same approach to direct Quantum Resources.
“The fund has invested in $230 million worth of properties, and it has only been operating about 90 days,” Wolf says. “We have had a good start.”
“The energy industry has seen a paradigm shift in the last three years,” Wolf says. “The price of our product has caused a lot of capital to pour into the industry.”
Wolf says his long term goals include development of new technology that will allow for greater drilling initiatives. “We will probably be doing things we have no idea about today. The technology is always on the march.” And technological advancements will contribute to cost-effective resources that are “better and less expensive as the technology improves,” Wolf says.
Wolf is also optimistic about Quantum Resources' possibilities. “It has buying power in the $2 billion range,” he says, adding that it is “continually working on evaluating properties and is evaluating about 12 to 15 right now”.
With all the activity in the energy sector and numerous prospects on the horizon, Wolf's retirement plans are still on hold. He said: “there's a lot of drilling going on.”
BLACKSTONE TAPS FORMER MCKINSEY PARTNER
The Blackstone Group announced the hiring of former McKinsey & Company partner David McVeigh, a broadly experienced private equity veteran, as executive director within the private equity portfolio management group. As a partner at McKinsey, McVeigh led their North American Chemicals and Northeast Energy and Materials practices. He has worked with clients in the chemicals, pulp/paper, packaging, private equity, and industrial/consumer tools industries, specializing in corporate and business unit strategy, marketing and sales, innovation, and mergers and acquisitions. “His extensive experience in implementing structural and fundamental changes in companies across multiple sectors will be an invaluable asset to our team,” said James Quella, senior managing director at Blackstone, in a statement.
FITT FITS IN AT GSC
GSC Partners, the New York-based distressed-investment firm, has hired former Goldman Sachs partner Lawton Fitt as a senior advisor and as a member of its board of advisors. Fitt, who was the first-ever female partner in the history of Goldman Sachs' equity division, was a senior member of that firm's high-technology investment banking team in New York and served as that team's European head before retiring in 2002, after 23 years at the firm. After Goldman, she became secretary of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where she was the first female and the first American ever in that position.
CENTERVIEW HIRES EX-GILLETTE CEO
Centerview Partners, the boutique investment bank formed last July by former Morgan Stanley, UBS, and Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein executives, announced that they have signed on former Gillette chairman, CEO and president James Kilts to help boost their private equity practice, as well as advise its clients. The firm plans to initially focus its private equity investment in consumer-oriented companies, and Kilts, a former senior executive at Gillette (a division of Procter & Gamble), Nabisco and Kraft, has had a 35-year career in consumer products. The New York Times reported sources close to the firm as saying that Kilts would likely raise a $1 billion (€788 million) fund within a year.
GENERAL ATLANTIC ANNOUNCES PROMOTIONS
General Atlantic has made several staffing changes, including the promotion of William Ford, who was appointed president of General Atlantic in February 2005, to the role of chief executive officer. Rene Kern, a managing director based in Greenwich, will chair the firm's portfolio committee, with Mark Dzialga becoming deputy chair. Promoted to managing director were Jonathan Korngold, head of the healthcare sector; Anton Levy, head of the consumer media and marketing services sector; Christopher Lanning, general counsel; Thomas Murphy, chief financial officer; Andrew Pearson, head of portfolio management; and David Rose, general counsel. In addition, Sunish Sharma, based in Mumbai, and Xiaomeng Tong, based in Hong Kong, have been elected principal.
GUGGENHEIM HIRES PLACEMENT PROS FROM HIG, LEGG MASON
Guggenheim Partners' capital markets division has hired two new managing directors for its private fund group: Thomas Ley and Mel Chez. Both new hires will be raising funds for Guggenheim-sponsored private equity funds, hedge funds and fixed-income offerings. Ley will cover the western United States, while Chez will cover the central US territory. Ley was formerly managing director at private equity firm HIG Capital, where he engineered leveraged buyouts. Chez was a vice president at Legg Mason Institutional Services, where worked with plan sponsors, pension consultant, endowments and foundations on behalf of a number of Legg Mason affiliates, including Western Asset Management, Royce & Associates, Batterymarch Financial and Permal.