Z Capital hires IR exec from KPS

James Zenni-led Z Capital Partners has hired Irene Hong, former VP of investor relations at KPS Capital Partners, as a managing director in charge of marketing and corporate development.

Chicago-based mid-market investor Z Capital Partners has hired Irene Hong as a managing director.

Hong will be responsible for investor marketing, capital raising and corporate development, a new position at the firm. She joins Z Capital from New York-based KPS Capital Partners, where she was a vice president of investor relations. Prior to joining KPS, Hong worked in the placement agent arm of Jefferies & Company, where she was responsible for capital raising and fund marketing for private equity funds.

“I joined Z Capital because I was drawn by its strong and consistent investment track record, highly talented team and differentiated sourcing capabilities,” Hong told Private Equity International, adding that she has been impressed with the firm’s ability to implement operational improvements.

Hong joins head of investor relations and communications Nicole Brock in Z Capital’s corporate development division and will report to president and chief executive officer James Zenni.

Z Capital specialises in managing assets in both distressed private equity and leveraged finance investments. Established in 2006 by Zenni, the former founder of Black Diamond Capital Management, the firm focuses on control strategies using distressed debt, typically involving purchasing portions of debt in struggling companies to obtain control of the company.

Last month, Z Capital took ownership of restaurant chain Real Mex, which emerged from its Chapter 11 restructuring. A former portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners, Real Mex is co-owned by Tennenbaum Capital Partners and JP Morgan Investment Management.

As of 30 June 2011, Z Capital had collected $300 million for its North America-focused special situations fund. The fund has a $500 million target, according to data provider Private Equity Connect.