Rise of the Corinthians

An acrimonious split at New York middle-market firm Lincolnshire Management has led to poaching and lawsuits.

There is perhaps no better impetus for ill will between two private equity firms than poaching each other’s employees. When the poaching follows a spinout and is on top of lawsuits, it’s fair to say that a rivalry has been officially born. 

The ongoing battle between Corinthian Capital and Lincolnshire Management has followed a similar path, with more fuel thrown on the fire in November after Corinthian lured away James McNair, who was previously a managing director at Lincolnshire and headed the group’s Chicago office. McNair announced the move at the recent Canadian Private Equity Summit held in Toronto.

Corinthian Capital, based in New York, was spawned by former Lincolnshire Management founder Steven Kumble.

Kumble left to form Corinthian earlier this year, bringing Kenneth Clay and Peter Van Raalte, two longtime executives at Lincolnshire, with him. Soon after their departure, the three filed a lawsuit against Lincolnshire’s current president, TJ Maloney. The allegations in the suit claimed Maloney breached a transition agreement when he assumed leadership of Lincolnshire, while creating a hostile work environment for all three Corinthian founders during their employment, among other claims.

Maloney has since filed a countersuit. A source close to the two suits estimates that it won’t be until January that the dispute is heard before a judge.

For now, though, McNair’s departure adds to the outflow of bodies from the Lincolnshire offices. In addition to those involved in the Corinthian spinout, Drew Shea, Jeffrey Muti, John Camp and Thomas Ley are other professionals to have departed in recent years.

Lincolnshire, almost as quickly as it lost them, has been able to draft new professionals back into its fold. A spokesman for the firm said it has hired a recruiter to fill McNair’s position and noted that it has announced a number of new additions in recent months, including the hirings of Rabobank International veteran Pieter Kodde and Gartland Whalley and Barker executive Patrick Coyne.
Regarding McNair’s exit, the spokesman for Lincolnshire called it a mutual decision.

Prior to working at Lincolnshire, McNair served as president of McNair, Reed & Co. and spent time at Jordan Industries, where for eight years he headed the firm’s business development group. He also put in stints at Drexel Burnham Lambert and Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co.