Our Team

Steven A. Baffico - Managing Partner & Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Baffico is Managing Partner & CEO of Four Wood Capital Partners LLC, a yield-oriented investment management firm with assets under management, supervision & service of apx. $2 billion. Prior to founding Four Wood Capital Partners in 2011, he had been a senior leader in financial services for more twenty years across investment management and merchant banking, holding executive management positions at firms including Guggenheim Partners and BlackRock.  At Guggenheim Investments (2010-2011), Mr. Baffico was Senior Managing Director & Head of US Retail, overseeing all aspects of the investment management and distribution businesses, responsible for more than $27 billion in assets under management and or supervision.  Formerly, he spent more than a decade (1998-2010) at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, where he worked in various senior leadership capacities across sales, marketing, portfolio management, product development and capital markets.

Mr. Baffico currently serves on the Board of Directors for Four Wood Capital Advisors’ family of registered Funds and Specialty Finance Companies.  In addition, he is the Executive Chairman of Global Marine Transport Capital LLC, FWCP’s specialty direct lending platform within the global maritime industry.  Mr. Baffico is also Chief Executive Officer of SWD Enterprises LLC and GRIT Energy Services Inc., energy infrastructure companies focused on serving the oil and gas industry and affiliate and subsidiary companies FWCP respectively.

Mr. Baffico is SEC Series 7 and FINRA Series 24 and 63 registered and has a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin.

Jennifer M. Wilson - Managing Partner & Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Wilson has over a fifteen years of industry experience at leading global firms.  She spent more than ten years working for the Investment Banking Group of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America.  While working in the Financial Institutions Group, she advised asset management companies and specialty finance companies on both capital raising transactions and merger/acquisition transactions.  Additionally, Ms. Wilson worked for the COO organization, where her roles ranged from managing the Telecom, Media & Technology division to implementing special projects related to Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch.  Previously, Ms. Wilson was a Manager with Deloitte & Touche where she provided assurance and advisory services to Fortune 500 clients.

At Four Wood Capital, Jennifer is a member of the Board of Managers and serves as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer, overseeing the investment banking and structuring activities for the firm’s permanent capital business pertaining to advisory and distribution relationships with third-party asset managers.

Ms. Wilson graduated magna cum laude from University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Business Economics and earned a Masters of Business Administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.  She also holds a CPA and FINRA licenses 7 and 63.

Andrew Simmons

Andrew J. Simmons is the Chief Executive Officer of Four Wood Marine Advisors Ltd (“FWMA”) and has supervisory responsibility across structuring and underwriting activity of Global Marine Transport Capital’s (“the Company”) senior secured lending activity, as well as overseeing internal risk management activities for the Company. He serves as a member of the Four Wood Marine Advisors Credit Committee as well as a member of the Four Wood Marine Advisors Management Board.
Mr. Simmons joined Four Wood Marine Advisors in October 2014 and has over 30 years of experience in the banking industry, with particular expertise in shipping finance dating back to 1973. He is well-known and widely respected across shipping finance markets globally, having served in key C-Suite roles for publicly traded companies and high profile organizations in Europe and the Middle East for many years. Previously, Mr. Simmons served as Chief Financial Officer of StealthGas Inc., one of the largest publicly-traded LNG carriers in the world (2005 – 20011), Vice President & Head of European Sales for Inchcape Shipping Services, UK (2011 -2013), Head of Credit Reports for Lloyd’s List Intelligence (2011) and Director of Shipping Finance for Heath Lambert in Dubai and Bahrain (2002 – 2005). Prior to joining FWMA, most recently Mr. Simmons served as CFO and Treasurer of SuperEco Tankers Ltd (2013- 2014), a well-known transport concern out of Piraeus, Greece.

Bill Abrams

Bill Abrams joined Four Wood Capital Markets in 2016 to lead its maritime investment banking effort.  Prior to joining Four Wood, Bill ran the shipping investment banking group at Wunderlich Securities.  Previously Bill was a Managing Director at DVB Bank from 2005- 2011 where he established and ran DVB’s capital markets group which was focused on capital raising for maritime, aviation and rail companies.

From 2002 – 2005, Bill served as a Senior Vice President at the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, a U.S.-government sponsored loan program established to provide financing to airlines negatively impacted by the events of September 11th.  From 1993-2001, Bill was a member of the investment banking group at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and Credit Suisse where he originated, structured and executed over 50 offerings of high-yield debt and equity securities.  Bill started his career in 1990 as an Associate with the law firm Latham & Watkins.

Bill holds a BA in Economics from Johns Hopkins University and a JD/MBA from the University of Chicago.

David Brauer - Chief Financial Officer

David has a long and successful history as a CFO and financial manager across a variety of experiences including as Managing Director-Global Consumer Operations & Technology, Citigroup with responsibilities including Finance, Planning and Analysis for $100+ billion in Credit Cards, Mortgage Banking and Retail Banking infrastructure spending across 4 regions and 51 countries.

 

Previously, Mr. Brauer served as SVP– Strategy & Finance, CitiFinancial International. Responsible for financial planning and strategic consultant to $22 billion consumer credit business, spanning 24 countries. Drove the annual planning and budgeting process, including treasury, allocation of investment dollars, expense analysis and strategic initiatives. Finance lead in over 15 acquisition targets, including the pro-forma analysis, on-site due diligence and discussion with Global Consumer and the Corporate M&A Group.

 

Additionally, David was SVP–Finance Head, Planning & Control, CitiFinancial (formerly The Associates). Responsible for financial planning, analysis, and consolidation of the 1,200 branch U.S. consumer finance business unit prior to the acquisition by Citigroup. Played a significant role in managing the business through adverse economic environment, industry repositioning, and the development of a sound business model. Managed staff of 20 staff and reported to the Business Head.

David Stuart

Dave Stuart is a Credit Officer with Global Marine Transport Capital based out of London.  Mr. Stuart is a Banking and Finance Specialist with strong financial and technical skills, leveraging his 35 years in the maritime transport and shipping finance sectors.  Dave has an extensive network of banking and commercial contacts with his valuable cross-discipline skill-set including experience with global financial institutions, shipping companies, marine technical knowledge and training at sea.

 

His various senior leadership roles at prior firms include the Bank of Nova Scotia (1999 – 2013) where he served as Director, Shipping Finance, HDS Shipping (1997 – 1999) as Manager of Finance & Projects, Sea Containers Ltd (1995 – 1996) as Business Development Manager, British Maritime Technology Defense Services (1991 – 1994) as Managing Naval Architect and the British Ministry of Defense (1981 – 1991) as various roles.

 

At Global Marine Transport Capital, Mr. Stuart works across disciplines including business development, deal sourcing and structuring, credit underwriting and documentation, technical fleet analysis and relationship management given his extensive experience, contacts and expertise in these disciplines within the industry.

Dimitri Andonatos

Dimitri is the Chief Operating Officer of Global Marine Transport Capital. and has supervisory responsibilities across account management, origination, and transaction sourcing, structuring and loan execution within the GMTC’s senior secured lending operation. Dimitri was educated in England at Westminster School and Oxford University and after working for one year in his family shipping firm, joined Credit Suisse First Boston as an investment banker. He was then recruited into the Shipping Division of Bankers Trust Company (now part of Deutsche Bank) and thereafter joined Nordic Bank, London (which subsequently became Den norske Bank). He has financed over 800 vessels over a 20 year banking career and has an extensive list of shipping contacts, having successfully dealt with over 160 clients worldwide.  More recently he was Finance Director of two shipping companies in Piraeus.

Efthymious Efthymiou

Efthymios joined Four Wood Capital in September 2012 in the Origination and Banking Group. His responsibilities include investment research, thought leadership development, sales support for open-end funds and IPOs, marketing and business development.  Previous to Four Wood Capital, Efthymios worked as an Analyst at Stratum Capital Advisors, a long/short strategy hedge fund.  Mr. Efthymiou holds a B.S. in Engineering with a major in Financial and Management Engineering from the Aegean University, Greece and earned his Masters in Business Administration from St. John’s University, New York. He is fluent in Greek and English.

Gary Leonard - General Counsel

Gary Leonard is a corporate attorney with over twenty-five years’ private practice and Fortune 500 in-house legal experience providing counseling to financial institutions, companies and private investors with respect to corporate, commercial and consumer financial and transactional matters in US and international scenarios. His experience includes stock and asset acquisitions, the issuance of corporate debt and equity, investment banking, cross-border transactions and collateral structures, technology transfers and licensing, joint ventures, strategic alliances and related regulatory and compliance matters. More specifically, Gary’s experience includes:

 

Mr. Leonard has been a trusted counselor to banks, underwriters and other financial institutions in the issuance of municipal bonds, senior capital notes, private placements, commercial paper, and related corporate, financial, securities, tax and regulatory matters; including the drafting, review and negotiation of trust indentures, underwriting agreements, offering materials, letters of credit, subordinated debt arrangements, traditional bank lending, portfolio acquisitions, credit and inter-creditor agreements, working capital loans, factoring, and receivables financing.

 

Additional Highlights include counseling financial institutions, companies and investment groups in numerous acquisitions and transactional matters, including lead counsel in the merger of a private investment group into a publicly traded (Frankfurt) Swiss asset manager, lead counsel in the merger of a telecom related technology company into a publicly traded (US) data storage company, chief legal advisor for a US-based Taiwanese holding company in the merger, sale and divestiture of its US-based banking, financial, technology and other assets, and as chief legal counsel in the acquisition of a Hong Kong based consumer finance company in the Philippines and the post-acquisition transition and roll-out of additional branches.

 

Previously, Gary served as Assistant General Counsel with The Associates First Capital Corporation, where he was responsible for all commercial and consumer finance programs as well as general corporate, operational, regulatory and tax matters in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Philippines, as well as specific commercial and consumer lending projects in Spain, Taiwan and Hong Kong. His experience includes broad consumer and commercial finance work, including consumer lending, installment sales, auto finance, credit cards, home-equity lending, commercial finance, asset-based financing programs, financial data privacy, consumer and commercial collections, and all related compliance, licensing and regulatory issues. Gary was awarded the “Global Consumer Finance” award by The Associates in 2001.

 

Gary has built and sold two companies; a specialty servicing platform (consumer collections) and an online lending operation (consumer lending). He is a member of the Texas and Puerto Rico Bar Associations (and in the process of being admitted into New York). He is also a member of the Governing Board of the Conference on Consumer Finance Law, and the Structured Finance and Consumer Financial Services subcommittees of the Business Law section of the American Bar Association.

 

Gary is a graduate of Emory University (BA, History 1986), the Quinnipiac School of Law (JD 1989, Law Review member), Gary is 52, married with three children and resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Jack Takacs

Jack Takacs has over 35 years of experience in financial services in the successful acquisition, management and disposition of asset management companies, private equity firms, and operating companies in the US, Europe and Latin America. Therein, he has longstanding and successful relationships with both large institutional investors and asset managers globally, serving as a trusted advisor and reliable execution partner to them.

Previously, Jack has served in executive management roles for Scudder, Deutsche Asset Management, Stone Pine, Cornerstone, Hamilton Lane, Highland Capital and many others.  He is a former Partner and Managing Director of Stone Pine Companies, a principal investor, private equity money manager and fund administrator.  He is also a previous Director of Corporate Finance for Cornerstone Partners, a subsidiary of GKM, a New York Stock Exchange member firm.

Mr Takacs has executed more than $8 billion of real estate, corporate, and consumer finance transactions.

At Four Wood Capital Partners, Mr. Takacs is focused on strategic acquisitions and the growth of the firm’s asset management business through F2 Asset Management, an affiliate of FWCP.

Jerry Bastian

Jerry brings more than 30 years of oil and gas experience with a focus on operations and land/lease acquisitions to Four Wood Energy Partners. Throughout a diverse career in the industry, Mr. Bastian has successfully structured Salt Water Disposal and Fresh Water Aquifer Leases — assessing the needs of the company’s goals through landowner lease compliance. Jerry has also structured drillable exploration and production prospects — assessing the needs of company goals through landowner lease compliance.
He has performed complete land functions for exploration/development wells consisting of preparing Joint Operating Agreements, Joint Interest Billing, Revenue Reports, Unitization Agreements, Areas of Mutual Interest (AMI), Farm-in/Farm-out Agreements as well as Broker Supervision/Lease Acquisition. Land and Easement Acquisition and Title Curative. As well, Jerry has performed Due Diligence, Title Examination, Surface and Sub-Surface Field Title Work, Acquisition/Divestures and Overriding Royalty Purchases.
Mr. Bastian has also managed the development of pipelines/electric transmission lines by identifying the route selection, title preparation, acquisition of rights of way, and curative of all easements acquired and management of the process, procedures and human resources required, thus insuring the successful completion of construction on said lines.

Jim Trimble

Jim is currently responsible for leading all credit related transactions within Four Wood Energy Partner’s while also assisting with capital raising.  Jim joined the Four Wood team in 2015 following a 30 year career with The Bank of Nova Scotia in Toronto, New York and Sydney, Australia.  At Scotiabank, Jim’s primary focus was managing the Bank’s relationships with large corporate clients across several industries.  In 2004, Jim was appointed Co-Chair of Scotia’s Global Power & Utility Business where he developed lending and cross sell strategy and led a global team of relationship managers.  In 2011, he was named Country Head for Australia with responsibility for a multi-billion dollar loan portfolio with a concentration in Energy, Mining, and Commodities.  Jim earned a B.A. degree from Northwestern University and a M.B.A from McGill University.

John Morale

Mr. Morale brings a long and distinguished track record to FWCP in his role as Head of Financial Institutions Group. Prior to Four Wood Capital, John was with Scotia Bank for over twenty years, most recently as the most senior Financial Service Industry Officer based in the United States. At Scotia Bank, Mr. Morale was responsible for all business development, origination, risk management, securitization and loan syndication activities for Scotiabank’s Financial Service Industry platform in the United States, Bermuda, the Pacific Rim, and the European Union. Prior to joining Scotiabank, Mr. Morale was a Senior Financial Analyst at The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and has more than 27 years of banking experience exclusively in the Financial Service space.

At FWCP, John’s responsibilities including working closely with the Board of Managers in assessing various transactions, deal structures, distribution and syndication opportunities across the platform as well as leading the outside capital raising endeavors for the firm.

Lauren Seiler

Ms. Seiler brings fifteen years of capital markets experience to Four Wood Capital Partners where she leads the firm’s Investor Relations and Global Business Development efforts.  Prior to joining Four Wood, Ms. Seiler spent several years as a Casino & Gaming specialist building out Global Gaming, Lodging & Leisure franchises for both Buckingham Research and Union Gaming Group, where she served as the Head of North American Institutional Distribution. 

Before specializing in the casino space, she spent 7 years in equity research sales at Telsey Advisory Group focused on retail and consumer equities.  Having begun her career in fixed income with sales and trading roles at both Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank, Ms. Seiler brings extensive expertise across the capital structure to Four Wood’s various business units. 

 Ms. Seiler holds a BA in Quantitative Economics from Tufts University, carries the FINRA Series 7, 63 and 24 licenses, and is fluent in both English and Spanish.

Lily Kondakou

Lily Kondakou is an Assistant Vice President at Four Wood Marine Advisors Ltd and Global Marine Transport Capital Ltd., (“the Company”) where she is responsible for overseeing loan support services including correspondent banking and risk management activities, loan documentation, loan processing and surveillance as well as treasury management services. Prior to joining FWMA in November 2014, Ms. Kondakou had worked for over 15 years in administration, accounting and shipping finance sectors for major global financial institutions. Most recently, she managed the Commerzbank – Deutsche Schiffsbank AG Rep Office in Athens, Greece (2006 – 2014) where her responsibilities included a broad variety of tasks including administration of client accounts, client interface, loan book match-reporting, accounting and correspondent banking activities for a portfolio of over 100 borrowers across shipping and real estate sectors with over $1 billion of senior secured loans outstanding.

Previously, Ms. Kondakou also worked for America International Company Ltd (AIG) (2003 – 2005), Grant Thornton S.A. Chartered Accountants (2002 – 2003) and Euroget Technologies (2000 – 2002). Lily is fluent in English, French, German and Greek and holds a Bachelor of Arts & Sciences from Florida International University in Miami, FL (1991).

Marion Patterson

Marion Patterson was Head of Intermediary and Sub Advisory marketing at BNP Paribas Investment Partners in New York from 2010-2015. He built and led the Firm’s strategic distribution efforts among the leading mutual fund, variable annuity, and wealth management platforms who dominate retail distribution in North America. Marion was previously responsible for institutional marketing at Stone Tower Capital Management, a leading credit fund manager in New York. Earlier, he was a fundraising executive at Highland Capital Management, responsible for Senior Debt, Private Equity, Distressed Debt, CLO’s and High Yield strategies.
His career includes 13 years as a leader in Loan Syndication and Leveraged Finance. He was Head of Loan Trading at Royal Bank of Canada and, earlier, was a senior member of Citigroup’s Loan Syndication team. He began his corporate finance career with JP Morgan in 1985.

Marion Patterson received his MBA from Vanderbilt University in 1981, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Appalachian State University in 1979. He is a resident of New York City and an active member of the University Club of New York and Vanderbilt Alumni Association.

Martha Hadeler - Chief Investment Officer

Martha Hadeler brings over 35 years of professional experience in senior loans and related credit front-office investment management to FWCP.  Previously, Martha owned and managed CypressTree Investment Management, a Boston based CLO manager, which was purchased from Berkshire Partners.  Turned the company around by restructuring the struggling CLO portfolios.  Grew the AUM from $800 million to $4 billion.  Launched a series of new CLO and several offshore funds.  Sold the company to Primus Asset Management.

 

Prior to Cypress Tree, Ms. Hadeler was a Managing Director in charge of Loan Distribution for Citigroup based in New York. Ran a group that distributed $180 billion annually of loans, including: non-investment grade, investment grade and real estate loans. Set up and managed a group that restructured $ 5 billion in syndicated commercial real estate loans during the real estate crisis of the mid-1990s.  Sold the first managed CLO in 1988.

 

Earlier in her career, Martha was a Representative for Drexel Burnham Lambert, having established the Tokyo, Japan office.  Managed the branch office from a small representative office in Tokyo, Japan.  Sold the first high-yield bond fund to Japanese investors. Developed floating rate structures for high yield bond issuers to match the needs of Japanese banks.

 

Martha is a graduate of Brown University and Columbia University Graduate School of Business; Fluent in Japanese.

Nicholas Ratti

Mr. Ratti currently sits in the Origination and Investment Banking (OIB) group with responsibilities including origination, sales support, marketing, and business development. He joined Four Wood Capital Partners in June 2014 and has aided in the distribution efforts of the Miller/Howard High Income Equity & Eagle Growth and Income Opportunities closed-end fund IPO’s as well as the acquisition of the Blue Marlin Salt Water Disposal Well.

Mr. Ratti is a CFA Candidate and has a B.S. in Corporate Finance and a B.S. in Economics from Clemson University.

Nick Dracoulis

Mr. Dracoulis is Chief Technical Officer of Four Wood Marine Advisors. Within the Company’s senior secured lending operation, Mr. Dracoulis’ responsibilities and expertise include assessing and monitoring the performance of clients, including matters relating to the vessels chartering arrangements and operations, as well as the vessels’ technical condition, periodical valuations and insurance arrangements, in cooperation with leading marine surveyors, shipbrokers, and insurance consultants appointed by the Company. Mr. Dracoulis comes from a traditional Greek shipping family, educated in England and Switzerland, developing his shipping expertise in London and Monaco. He has worked in the shipping industry for almost 50 years, and his expertise and status have been recognized by users of the London Maritime Arbitrators’ Association, for whom he has acted as an expert witness on matters of ship management and operation. Mr. Dracoulis has owned and operated a proprietary fleet of vessels for seventeen years, and knows the practices and all aspects of the shipping industry intimately.

Nick Liu

Prior to working with FWCP, Mr. Liu invested in public equities at Seven Locks Capital, a value oriented hedge fund. He also invested in hedge funds as an allocator at Protege Partners and before that was employed as a mergers and acquisitions banker at Piper Jaffray.

Mr. Liu graduated from Georgetown with honors with a dual degree in Mathematics and Economics.

Randy Miles

Mr. Miles is a Senior Managing Director with Four Wood Capital Markets (“FWCM”) through its joint venture with Tigress Financial Partners (“TFP”). For over 25 years Mr. Miles has held senior global leadership positions in financial services, financial technology and investment banking companies. His extensive investment banking background at bulge bracket, regional and boutique firms, advising companies on strategic and financial needs has crossed many disciplines including fixed income, equities, corporate finance and M&A with deep focus in financial technology specialty finance, banking, software and business services. Mr. Miles’ transactional and advisory experience is complemented by leadership of public and private equity backed financial technology, specialty finance and software companies that have included Chairman & CEO of LIONMTS where he was nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and which required a complete restructuring of the company’s business model, CEO at Syngence Corporation and CEO at Advantage Funding / NAFCO Holdings which grew to in excess of $1 billion in size. Prior to joining the FWCM-TFP joint venture, Mr. Miles was Senior Managing Director, Chief Operating Officer and Head of FIG in the Investment Banking Group at Cantor Fitzgerald & Co. Mr. Miles has broad public, private and nonprofit board experience and has been active for many years in leadership roles with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Mr. Miles holds a BBA from the University of Washington and holds FINRA licenses Series 7, 24, 63 and 79.

Shaun Rima

Shaun brings with him over 18 years of experience in the oil and natural gas construction business and has installed pipelines and gathering systems in most of the major plays in North America. The past 14 years, he has worked specifically on pipeline and gathering system construction. Shaun has worked in nearly every aspect of the pipeline and gathering system process, from planning and permitting through to installation and continued system maintenance and up-keep. Through various positions at marquee companies like Fiberspar, Shaun has overseen pipeline and gathering system projects for most major operators in the area, including Marathon Petroleum, Continental Resources, WPX Energy, ConocoPhilips and Exxon Mobil.

Stephanie Trell

Ms. Trell joins Four Wood Capital Partners currently serves as the Head of Retail Origination, bringing over twenty years of industry experience in asset management and sell-side capital markets expertise. Previously, Stephanie spent seven years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where she was an executive in charge of closed-end fund product development, execution and new issue syndicate across the equity capital market space for ML’s Wealth Management Group. Formerly, she was an executive with Citi – Smith Barney, overseeing the firm’s retail equity capital markets operations in a similar domain. In her career, she has performed diligence, structured and a raised over 60 permanent capital funds totally over $50 billion invested assets.
Ms. Trell holds a BA in Economics from the University of Connecticut and holds Series 7, 63, 24 and 79. She is also actively involved in the Women’s Syndicate Association.

Vladimir Kostour

Vladimir Kostour joined Four Wood Capital Partners, LLC from BNP Paribas Investment Partners where he was an Assistant Portfolio Manager in the Global Credit team with $29 billion in assets under management. Vladimir Kostour has 15 years of front-office experience in investment and asset management. Mr. Kostour joined Fortis Investments/BNP Paribas in 2004 from Jefferies & Co., Inc. where he was an Associate in the investment banking team that was responsible for underwriting and structuring a variety of leveraged loan products. Prior to Jefferies, Mr. Kostour was an Assistant Vice President in Structured Credit at AIG-Financial Products for 1999-2002. He began his investment-professional career as a fixed income analyst at Phoenix Trading (hedge fund) in 1997. Mr. Kostour holds Ph.D. in Statistical Physics from Kiev University, Ukraine. He was a postdoctoral fellow sponsored by NASA at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD and sponsored by Research Foundation of NY at SUNY-Stony Brook, NY.