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Huntsman Gay hires Kirkland & Ellis lawyer, promotes three to principal

19 Nov 2012

US mid-market private equity firm Huntsman Gay Global Capital has appointed former Kirkland & Ellis lawyer Jim Learner as a managing partner and announced the promotion of three current executives to principal.

During a 25-year career at global law firm Kirkland & Ellis, Learner principally represented private equity funds in over 200 transactions involving acquisitions, divestitures, financings and fund formation activities, and was a member of its 15-person firm-wide Management Committee.

He was most recently in charge of the firm’s European operations, working from London on US, European and global transactions.

At Kirkland his main client was Bain Capital, although he also worked with private equity firms including Apax Partners, Apollo Management and Towerbrook Capital Partners.

“In addition to his executive leadership experience, Jim’s broad global network will be valuable as we continue to help our US portfolio companies expand globally,” said Huntsman Gay managing partner Gary Crittenden.

“Having worked on our transaction that merged Montreal-based iCongo with Munich-based hybris Software, Jim already has a great understanding of our strategy.”

Huntsman Gay also announced that it has promoted three senior vice presidents—Jacob Hodgman, Hudson Smith and Neil White—to principal.

Hodgman and Smith are based in the firm’s Palo Alto office while White is based in the firm’s West Palm Beach, Florida office.

Hodgman has been with the firm since its inception in 2007 and sits on the boards of directors of portfolio companies Innovative Interfaces and Hollander.

Prior to joining Huntsman Gay, Hodgman worked at Sorenson Capital, where he focused on a wide range of investments in the mid-market; and as a senior analyst in the Investment Banking Division of Citigroup where he focused primarily on mergers and acquisitions.

Smith, who came to Huntsman Gay in 2009, has been involved in the firm’s investments in iQor, Mama Rosa’s, Sunquest and hybris, where he currently serves on the board of directors.

Prior to Huntsman Gay, Smith was a manager at Bain & Co in the Dallas and Sydney, Australia offices, working with companies in business services, software, telecommunications, aerospace, consumer products and private equity.

Smith previously served as an investment banking analyst and associate at Lincoln International, which specialises in mergers and acquisitions and raising private capital.

White joined Huntsman Gay in 2009 and has worked on investments including iQor and Gee Holdings, where he currently serves on the board of directors.

Before joining Huntsman Gay, he worked in the private equity group at Och-Ziff Capital Management and at Bain Capital where he was involved with the acquisitions of CRC Health Group, Toys R Us, and SunGard Data Systems.

He started his career at the Boston Consulting Group in Dallas.

The personnel moves come during a busy 2012 for Huntsman Gay. In the past 10 months the firm completed acquisitions of Citadel Plastics Holdings, a major global plastics composites company, and Innovative Interfaces, a library technology and services business.

In August the firm sold Sunquest Information Systems, a provider of laboratory information systems, to New York-listed Roper Industries for $1.4bn.

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