Co-founder, Chairman & CEO
Co-founder, Independent Director
Luca Giacometti, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, has over 30 years of experience in private equity and as a sponsor of blank check companies, having previously led four blank check companies in Italy. He launched the first blank check company under Italian law in 2011. In 2017, he sponsored Glenalta (merged with CFT S.p.A.), Glenalta Foods in 2015 (merged with Orsero S.p.A.), IPO Challenger in 2014 (merged with Italian Wine Brands S.p.A.), and Made in Italy 1 in 2011 (merged with SeSa S.p.A.).
In 2005 Mr. Giacometti co-founded European Co-investment Partners LLP with Mr. David Smith, one of our strategic advisors, and other former GE Capital colleagues, thereby forming Capital Dynamics’ private equity co-investment business. Capital Dynamics is an independent global private asset management business commanding over $16 billion in assets under management and advisory service arrangements, more than 700 fund investments, over 350 fund general partner relationships and a global footprint of 11 offices. Capital Dynamics is not our affiliate. Mr. Giacometti remains a Senior Adviser to Capital Dynamics, typically working closely with Mr. Smith.
He has been an independent director of Digital Magics (DM:XMIL) since 2012. Digital Magics is a large Italian digital incubator, listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, with more than 70 accelerated startups. From 2003 to 2005, he worked at the Ferrero family office in Italy, where he was in charge of its private equity activities. From 1996 to 2002, Mr. Giacometti founded and managed General Electric’s private equity business in Italy. Mr. Giacometti built a private equity portfolio including Cantieri Rodriguez, Nuova Bianchi, Bafin, SM Logistics, Vimercati, GMV Martini MARR and Euralcom, sometimes serving on the board of directors of these companies; Messrs. Giacometti and Smith worked together closely in sourcing, executing and realizing this portfolio.
Prior to this, Mr. Giacometti was deputy director of merchant banking at Banca Commerciale Italiana, where he worked on private equity investments in Italian companies including Grove, IMA, and Industrie Ilpea. Prior to joining Banca Commerciale Italiana, Mr. Giacometti worked in the syndications group at Citibank in Milan where he was responsible for the syndication of Italian MBOs. Mr. Giacometti holds a degree in business and economics from the Luigi Bocconi School of Business in Milan. Mr. Giacometti is well-qualified to serve on our Board due to his extensive blank check company, investment and banking experience.
Alberto Recchi, our Chief Financial Officer, has over 15 years of experience in corporate and leveraged finance, mergers and acquisitions, and principal investing, in both the North American and Western European markets. In 2019, he founded Ampla Capital, a merchant bank, based in New York, which focuses on proprietary direct co-investments, in both established and growth-oriented SMEs in the North American and Western European markets. Previously, from 2016 to 2019, he was a Managing Director at MC Square Capital, a coinvestment platform and cross-border boutique merchant bank.
Prior to this, Mr. Recchi spent 12 years at Credit Suisse, where he worked in the Private Banking and Wealth Management Division in London for three years, advising corporate treasury departments, single and multi-family offices, ultra-high net worth individuals, across all product offerings, including direct investments, asset management, custody, corporate finance, structured finance, and private wealth management. Prior to that he worked in the Investment Banking Division for nine years, advising financial sponsors in the U.S. and E.U., structuring and executing LBOs, IPOs and M&A deals, based in New York first and London thereafter. During his tenure at Credit Suisse, Mr. Recchi developed a network of relationships with single and multi-family offices, and with private equity players in North America and Western Europe.
Mr. Recchi holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy. He also holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School as well as an M&A Certificate of Mastery issued by the New York Institute of Finance.
Alberto Pontonio, one of our Director nominees, has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry in both the US and European markets. In January 2019, he joined Raymond James as a financial advisor, based in Miami. Prior to this, from 2015 to December 2018, he traded Equity Index futures. In 2009, he co-founded Censible, an automated investment platform that allows individual investors to align their investments with their personal interests and social values. Previously, Mr. Pontonio worked for Espirito Santo Investment Banking, was a Managing Director at Bear Stearns in London, and worked at Merrill Lynch, in New York and then in London, as a Director in the Institutional Equity department. Mr. Pontonio started his career in New York at Cowen & Co.
He holds a B.A. in economics from the Catholic University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Pontonio is well-qualified to serve on our Board due to his extensive experience in the financial services industry in both the US and European markets.
Robert Cohen, one of our Director nominees, has 37 years’ of experience in investment banking and financial services around the world. In 2007, he founded Cohen Brothers, an international fund placement agent, raising capital across all main private asset fund strategies for fund manager clients in the US, Europe and Asia. From 2000 to 2007, he held several executive-level positions at Deutsche Bank & Schroder fund management businesses in France. From 1998 to 2000, he was a director and executive board member of J. Henry Schroder & Co. in London in structured investments, a vice president at Natixis in Equity Capital Markets, a deputy chief financial officer in Barclay’s France group specialized credit division and a senior auditor at Ernst & Young Paris, where he started his career.
He holds the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Commerciales diploma (MBA), Jouy en Josas, France and was a board member of AFG, the French fund management professional association. Mr Cohen is well qualified to serve on our board given his extensive executive, board, audit and private and public company experience.
Patrick S. Jones, one of our Director nominees, is a private investor with considerable independent board member experience with a variety of technology companies. He currently serves as audit committee chairman and independent board member for Talend SA (TLND:NASDAQ), a software company, since 2015, as audit committee chairman and independent board member for Fluidigm (FLDM:NASDAQ), a designer and manufacturer of integrated fluidic circuit technology, since 2011, and also an independent board member of Itesoft SA (ITE.PA:PARIS), a software company, since 2014. Previously, from 2007 to 2017, he was Chairman of the Board of Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC:NASDAQ), Chairman of the Board of InsideSecure (INSD.PA:PARIS) (now Verimatrix), Chairman of the Board of Dialogic (DLGC:OTC), Chairman of the Board of Epocrates (EPOC:NASDAQ), and has served on other boards including Openwave Systems (UPIP:NASDAQ) and Novell (NOVL:NASDAQ).
Prior to this, he was Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Gemplus SA, where he worked closely with Mr. David Smith, one of our strategic advisors, who also served on Gemplus’s board of directors, audit committee and IPO committee prior to the company’s initial public offering, representing shareholder GE Capital. Prior to this, Mr. Jones was Vice President of Finance — Corporate Controller for Intel Corp (INTC:NASDAQ).
Mr. Jones has an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois, and an MBA from Saint Louis University. Mr. Jones is well-qualified to serve on our Board due to his extensive investment and board experience.
David Smith, one of our strategic advisors, has over 30 years of experience in private equity and infrastructure investments. Since 2002, Mr. Smith has been Senior Managing Director and a senior member of the Co-Investment team at Capital Dynamics, based in London. He is also the Chairman of Capital Dynamics’ Clean Energy Infrastructure Investment Committee in respect of certain existing investment mandates. Prior to joining Capital Dynamics, Mr. Smith worked with GE Capital in the UK and the US from early 1990 until late 2002, serving in its energy infrastructure finance and private equity business, where he worked closely with Mr. Giacometti, our Chief Executive Officer. Messrs. Giacometti and Smith have worked together for over 20 years.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Smith was engaged as an adviser to AXA Private Equity (now known as Ardian) and established the European business of First Reserve Corporation, a private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts and growth capital investments in the energy sector, prior to which he was with BP Ventures’ solar photovoltaics business. He serves on the board of directors of the Major Projects Association and is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
Mr. Smith holds a B.A. in Electrical Engineering and a Masters Degree in Engineering, each from the University of Southampton, and an M.B.A. from the Cass Business School of City University London.
Galeazzo Pecori Giraldi, one of our strategic advisors, is Chairman of the Board of Hedge Invest SGR, an Italian independent asset management company specialized in the creation and management of alternative investments with over €1 billion AUM. Previously, he was the Global Head of Private Investment Banking at Société Générale, based in Paris, responsible for relationships with major holding companies and family offices for Europe and the Middle East. He was also Deputy Chairman of the Investment Banking Committee and Member of the European Strategic Committee.
Prior to this, he spent 24 years at Morgan Stanley as Vice Chairman Europe, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Italy & Switzerland, Member of the Global Investment Committee of MSREF (real estate funds). He also spent seven years at Citibank in London at the start of his banking experience. He has served on the Advisory Board of Bridgepoint Capital since 2007 and served as an independent Deputy Chairman at Clessidra SGR (Italian mid-cap private equity) until June 2019. He also serves as member of the board of non-profit organizations FAI (National Trust) and Accenture Foundation.
Mr. Pecori Giraldi graduated with a degree in international law from Padua University and attended graduate courses in Business Economics at Cambridge and Harvard Universities.
Silvio Marenco, one of our strategic advisors, has over 20 years of professional experience in strategic consultancy, blank check companies, executive education, venture capital and entrepreneurial activity. Mr. Marenco and Mr. Giacometti have worked closely together over the last 8 years. They started doing business together when Mr. Marenco invested in Mr. Giacometti’s first two blank check companies, Made in Italy 1 and IPO Challenger. They reinforced their partnership when they both became SPAC sponsors and Chief Executive Officers of Glenalta Food and Glenalta. Mr. Marenco founded YouAbroad, a company organizing study trips abroad for high school students, of which he is now a board member and owner, turning the start-up into a leading company with revenues exceeding €11 million and EBITDA of €1.6 million.
Mr. Marenco also spent 13 years as a manager of ESCP Europe Business School and 6 years as a strategic consultant in Bain & Company. His core expertise as strategic consultant includes business growth strategy, turnaround, due diligence, SMEs, market analysis and consumer insight, specializing particularly in the Food & Beverage, Retail, Industrial Goods and Apparel sectors. Mr. Marenco earned a PhD at Bournemouth University and University of Turin and an MBA from SDA Bocconi School of Management.
Giuseppe Recchi, one of our strategic advisors, is Chief Executive Officer of Affidea Group BV, a leading European provider of diagnostic imaging, cancer treatment and outpatient services operating from 245 centers in 16 countries. Mr. Recchi is a board member of Unipol S.p.A. and he was Executive Chairman of publicly listed Telecom Italia S.p.A. (now TIM S.p.A.). He was also Chairman of the Board of Eni S.p.A (NYSE: ENI). Prior to this, he worked at General Electric, where he held several managerial positions in Europe and in the USA: he served as Chief Executive Officer of GE Capital Structure Finance Group in Italy, Managing Director for Industrial M&A and Business Development of GE in EMEA, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GE Italy, and as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GE Southern Europe. During his tenure at General Electric in London and in Italy, he worked closely with Luca Giacometti, our Chief Executive Officer, and other colleagues who are today senior professionals at Capital Dynamics.
Mr. Recchi has co-Chaired the Task Force on Improving Transparency and Anti-Corruption at B20 in 2011. He served on several boards, including the European Advisory Board of The Blackstone Group, the Advisory Board of InvestIndustrial (a top quartile pan-European private equity firm), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology E.I. Advisory Board, and EXOR S.p.A. From 2004 to 2006, he was a visiting Professor in Corporate Finance at Turin University. In 2017, he was appointed by the President of the Republic of Italy, Knight with the Order of Merit for Labor (the highest recognition for business merit in Italy). Mr. Recchi graduated in Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Turin.
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