Opex Awards 2016: Meet the judges



Paul Fuhrman is partner at EY Transaction Advisory Services, specialising in value creation. His practice focuses on post-deal operational restructuring and performance improvement. Based in Boston, Fuhrman previously served as senior vice-president at Celerant Consulting for five years, and as president and managing director of Americas at Collinson Grant for three years.

University of Chicago Booth

Steven Neil Kaplan is the Neubauer family distinguished service professor of entrepreneurship and finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. His research focuses on private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance and corporate finance. He is co-creator of the Kaplan-Schoar PME (Public Market Equivalent) private equity benchmarking approach. A Fortune article referred to him as “probably the foremost private equity scholar in the galaxy”. He co-founded the entrepreneurship programme at Booth, helping start its business plan competition, the New Venture Challenge.

Alvarez & Marsal

Michael McKenna is a managing director of Alvarez & Marsal’s Private Equity Performance Improvement group. He works with private equity investors across the transaction lifecycle to identify and execute transactions, accelerate portfolio company performance and provide a smooth investment exit. His primary area of focus is finance operations, driving improvements in working capital management, accounting and treasury operations, and reporting and analytics. Before Alvarez & Marsal, McKenna was senior manager at BearingPoint and principal at Arthur Andersen.


Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Veronique Lafon-Vinais is associate professor of business education at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, where she is associate director of both the undergraduate and World Bachelor in Business programmes, and a project director of the MSc in Global Finance programme. Lafon-Vinais is a seasoned financial market professional with over 20 years of banking and capital markets experience. She has worked in all the major financial markets and has extensive experience in all major debt markets.


Lian Hoon Lim is a managing director with AlixPartners. He has 24 years of experience in all aspects of operations improvement, including sales and distribution, manufacturing, procurement, product development, overall supply chain management and transportation operations. He has consulted to the automotive, electronics, consumer goods and chemicals industries and held management positions in electronics, shipping and logistics industries in South-East Asia and Greater China.

McKinsey & Company

Ivo Naumann is a partner with McKinsey & Company where he leads the Recovery and Transformation Services practice in Greater China. Naumann has more than 20 years of experience in supporting shareholders and management to restructure and drastically improve performance of underperforming businesses in Asia. He has acted in multiple interim management roles and served on various boards of director for companies in China, Japan and South-East Asia.


Operating Partners Group

Miles Graham is managing partner at the Operating Partners Group, an advisory firm providing operating partner solutions to mid-cap and large-cap private equity funds. Previously, he was president of John Hardy, a 3i portfolio company, which he restructured and sold to L Catterton. He has been in private equity for 20 years, serving as director and head of active partnership at 3i Group, where he oversaw operational improvements across a $6 billion portfolio of 100 companies, five years in McKinsey & Company’s private equity practice in London and 10 years as a CEO of various private equity-owned companies.

University of Oxford

Ludovic Phalippou is lecturer in finance at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. He specialises in private equity funds and focuses on issues such as risk management, liquidity and measurement of returns. Phalippou’s research in this area has been published in leading academic and practitioner journals such as the Journal of Finance, the Review of Financial Studies and the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Ancora Finance Group

Thomas Pütter is chairman and chief executive of Ancora Finance Group, which is involved in a range of activities in the consulting and alternative asset investment spheres. He holds board and advisory positions with a number of companies. Pütter was chief executive and chairman of Allianz Capital Partners until 2010. For six years Pütter was chairman of the German PE and VC association.


Katja Salovaara has been a senior PE portfolio manager at Ilmarinen since January 2000. Ilmarinen is a mutual pension insurer based in Helsinki, managing €36 billion. Currently 6 percent of the assets are invested in private equity. Before joining Ilmarinen, she worked at the Shell UK Pension Fund in London analysing private equity funds and monitoring a global private equity portfolio with over $1 billion of commitments. Prior to that, she was an investment analyst in the European team at private equity specialists Pantheon Ventures.

Boston Consulting Group

Antoon Schneider is a senior partner at The Boston Consulting Group and leads the Principal Investors & Private Equity practice in London. He has advised leading principal investors and more than half of the 50 largest private equity firms globally on a range of deal sourcing, due diligence and firm strategy projects. He has also worked extensively with their portfolio companies on 100-day value creation planning and operational improvement projects, and has deep experience in corporate strategy and M&A.