Thomas de Shazo
Global Managing Director, Oil, Metals & Mining, Real Estate (LA)
Thomas De Shazo specializes in deal flow generation in technology startups or natural resources sector; development and financing of brown and greenfield entities as well as cross-border acquisitions. He can easily organize a team of financial, operational and legal management experts to conduct due diligence, structure, finance, acquire and operate. Since 2013, Thomas is the CEO of MineInvest Resources LLC, which finances companies with significant world class mining properties. In the same year, he started as Director of Avira Energy Inc., a company that supplies turnkey alternate energy solutions. He was also the President of Avira Sciences (TTDC BIO S.a.r.l.)from 2005 to 2013. Avira Sciences is a drug and therapeutic life science company.
Prior to becoming President , he served as Director of TTDC BIO S.a.r.l. (dba of Avira Sciences) from 2005 to 2012. Earlier, he served as Director of QS Analytics Inc for 2 years and 7 months. Thomas is the Director of Mobile Interactive Media Inc. for 6 years, from 2006 to July 2012. Mobile Interactive Media makes possible the diverse interactive services on cell phones. Thomas also served as President of Technology and Development Company in Bermuda for 12 years, EurEastCo Ltd. in Cyprus for 11 years, Capital and Commerce International – US Delaware for 15 years, commuting from New York, Moscow, Kiev, St. Petersburg, Almaty and Novosibirsk.
At Technology Development Company, his TTDC team developed a diverse portfolio of technologies in the fields of cell and gene therapies, nano-technologies, pharmaceuticals, optics fuel cell and syngas. He co-founded IEC that designed, manufactured prototypes and operated small scale steam powered generating systems. While in Euro East Co Ltd, he obtained and developed commercial properties with tenants The World Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction & Development (EBRD), Merrill Lynch, USAID, and the U.S. Embassy. He opened the world’s leading Hugo Boss store on Stary Arbat in Moscow, Russia. As President of Capital and Commerce International – U.S. Delaware, he made possible the export of stable and radioisotopes to Europe and the U.S. for medical imaging diagnostics, as well as for US companies to to have co-operational control with MinAtom of the BR 10 fast neutron breeder reactor for treating human inoperable brain tumors.
In 1996, he founded Ecolo Holding Ltd. in Cyprus. He became its Vice Chairman – Director for 5 years. He acquired the oil production field of Karazahnbasmunigaz (Nations Energy Co. Ltd.) in Kazakhstan in 1997, and then sold in 2006 to China’s CINOC-group for more than US $ 1.9 billion. He obtained his degree in Business/Managerial Economics from Harvard College, Boise State University.
Managing Director, US Multi-Family & Hospitality (Boca Raton, Miami FL)
Neal Margo heads Phoenix Group LLC, a real estate investment and development group with over 20 years of experience in formation, development, and disposition of franchised hospitality assets, and development and marketing of Planned Residential Communities and Multi-Family Projects. Neal Margo has extensive expertise and broad experience in all phases associated with Asset Acquisitions, Planning and Design, Feasibility and Risk Measurement Analysis, Market Positioning, Debt Financing, Capital formation, Franchising, Leasing and Revenue Management, Construction Management and Administration, Resource Negotiation and Contract Administration. The company and its President have been responsible for formation of over $600 Million in combined realty-based investments over the last 20 years.
Alejandro B. Vargas
Managing Director, Institutional investors & Family Offices (USA & Latin America)
Alejandro B. Vargas is an International Business Corporate Counsel with an in-depth experience in structuring, negotiating, financing, closing and successfully managing businesses, multinational companies, joint ventures (JVs), asset managers and leading their strategy, commercial, regulatory and legal teams as Member of the Board of Directors (BOD), Corporate & International Chief Legal Officer, Chief Executive Officer, Managing Partner and/or Managing Director in Latin America (LATAM), USA and Europe. During his 28 years of experience, Mr. Vargas has closed transactions for more than US$5 billion, in the telecommunications, asset management, real estate, energy and retail industries. Mr. Vargas has a strong and high level network and business relationships throughout LATAM and the USA, composed of economic groups, institutional investors, pension funds, banks, family offices, high net worth individuals and top-tier local Law Firms, among others. Mr. Vargas is currently a Corporate Consultant for several LATAM and US Family Offices, Multinational and Asset Management Companies, such as Fundamental Group LLC, where he is Managing Director for LATAM. Until recent years he was the Investor Relations Director for LATAM at Highland Capital Management LP and Corporate Counsel and CEO for Brazil at Convergia Inc. Before that he was President & Partner at Crescent Asset Management LATAM LTD and in earlier years and for 11 years, Mr. Vargas was Member of the Board of Directors and Corporate & International Chief Legal Officer at Americatel Corp, its parent companies Entel S.A and Telecom Italia and its 14 international subsidiaries. Mr. Vargas has a Lawyer Degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (JD equivalent) and a Certificate in Business Administration / Management Development from Harvard Business School (PMD 74).
Non-Executive Vice Chairman (NYC)
Non-Executive Vice Chairman Charles Cecil has nearly 30 years of real estate experience as a principal and intermediary in commercial, residential, hospitality and retail property in the major US metro markets. Mr. Cecil has completed hundreds of real estate transactions involving billions of dollars of property. He has been called upon to serve as an expert witness and was hired to manage the restructuring of a publicly held real estate investment company while in Federal Receivership. Mr. Cecil completed both his undergraduate and graduate work at Columbia University, receiving a B.S. in economics and an M.B.A. in finance respectively. Mr. Cecil has served as Managing Director of Barrington Equities, LLC, since 1998, first as a consultant and since 2005 as number two (C.O.O) to the company’s owner, acquiring, financing developing and selling property in Manhattan. The company’s most recent project, Greenwich Place Condominium (NY, NY) sold out for $70,000,000 in 2008.
In 2001 Mr. Cecil and a partner created a new financial guaranty insurance product and founded a new insurance company, INSURENTSM. INSURENTSM provides the first institutional guaranty to apartment renters to enable them to secure the apartment they seek.
From 1994 to 1997, as Managing Director of Granville International (New York, NY), Mr. Cecil was an advisor to investors and property owners including China Investment Bank (PRC) on acquisitions, financing and leasing in the US, completing transactions with LVMH and Casio among others. From 1991 to 1993 Mr. Cecil was Senior Managing Director of Banca Commerciale Italiana Capital Corp (New York and Milan) and was responsible for the start-up of its global cross-border acquisitions/financing advisory concentrating on real estate and hotel clients.
From 1989 to 1991 Mr. Cecil was Managing Director of Cecil, Evans Partners (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles) where he co-managed this real estate consulting firm advising, among others, the Saudi Royal Family on acquisitions in the US. Key transactions included the acquisition of Marina Del Rey, CA portfolio of 3 hotels, 3 multi-family properties, two retail centers, office, marina facilities and development sites.From 1987 to 1988 Mr. Cecil was a merchant banker as a Managing Director of Hong Kong-based Asian Oceanic Group and President of Asian Oceanic Real Estate Corporation. Transactions included mezzanine financing to acquire and develop the Hoboken Shipyards (NJ), The Charlestown Navy Yard (Boston) and the acquisition of over 30,000 hotel rooms, creating one of the world’s ten largest hotel companies.
From 1985 to1986 Mr. Cecil was a consultant, providing acquisition and financing advisory services to The Travelers, Davis, Kahn Investors and Vanguard Investors.
From 1980 to 1985 Mr. Cecil served in various posts at Royal Business Funds Corp. (ASE & NASDAQ), a real estate investment company with assets in major metro areas in eight states including New York, Florida, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Colorado, New Jersey and North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Mr. Cecil began as an Asset Manager and rose to become Executive Vice President and C.O.O. of the parent company and President of all subsidiaries. Royal had mezzanine equity and debt investments in over 2,000,000 sf of commercial, residential, retail, hospitality and resort property which Mr. Cecil refinanced, joint ventured, developed and sold. After completing business school, Mr. Cecil joined Bankers Trust Co. in New York, working in Mergers and Acquisitions.
Blair H. Ashner
Director, Equity Finance (Phoenix & Chicago)
Ex-CFO Sam Zell Blair H. Ashner most recently served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at HDG Mansur Capital Group, where his responsibilities included supervising the finance and accounting of a $1.5 billion international real estate fund. Prior to joining HDG Mansur Capital Group LLC, Mr. Ashner spent 25 years at Equity Group Investments, Inc. in Chicago, which is Sam Zell’s founding and parent company of Equity Residential Properties Trust, Equity Office Properties Trust, and Equity International Properties, LLC. He served in a number of senior executive positions for Equity Group Investments, Inc., including Senior Vice President, Equity International Properties, Ltd., Senior Vice President of Finance and Member of Investment Committee. As the head of due diligence and underwriting, he worked on over $6 billion of real estate acquisitions. After leaving the Equity Group in 2001, he served as the Chief Financial Officer of Reliance Management LLC in Phoenix, which owns and manages office and industrial properties. Mr. Ashner has an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He also received an MBA in finance from the University of Chicago. Mr. Ashner was a Certified Public Accountant in Illinois.
Director, MENA & EU (London, Riyadh, Prague, Dubai)
Marcus is an experienced banker and asset manager offering more than 10 years of financial and commercial experience, including finance, investment banking, real estate, fund management, corporate restructuring, M&A advisory fixed income and venture capital. Marcus has held positions in various banking & investment groups, including: Chief Executive Officer of Investment Banking Group: BPA International, Board Director of Arch International Group, Managing Director at CERE Corporate Ventures (2010 to date); Chief Operating Officer of Global Operations CBS LLC (2008 – 2010); Corporate Finance Director of French/Luxemburg-based Centuria Capital (a DEXIA Banking group company) (2006 – 2008). He has led and restructured several investments in the GCC, ranging from real estate, technology, to infrastructure and has successfully implemented corporate turn-around strategies in the region.
Additionally he has led corporate restructuring and enforcement procedures in the UAE & Europe. Previously, Mr Fuchs set up the investment structure & raised capital for a Central European Real Estate Fund for Qualified investors targeting companies holding residential housing stock. The investment consisted of restructuring the investment holdings as well as their underlying assets. Prior to his business career Mr Fuchs was a professor at the University of New York in Prague for their B.B.A program, Higher National Diploma program, and the Swiss Graduate Institute program. He has lectured at numerous other universities. Marcus was awarded the prestigious R.S. McLaughlin Fellowship upon entering graduate school and graduated from Canada’s top Economics school, Queens University.
Director, Asia & Family Offices (China and North America)
As the Director for International Relations, Will brings 10 years of experience in the general management, market development and product development for top global banking clients and high technology firms in North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Will specializes in Business Development, Negotiation, Cross-Border Transactions, Joint Venture, Strategy Consulting, Key Account Management, Branding and Experience, Executive Education, and Real Estate. Will served as an executive adviser for Greater China Society, one of the largest regional student clubs at Columbia Business School with over 300 members. The club’s mission for the is to improve professional community for students who have an interest in the Greater China region. This club focuses on three primary initiatives: career development, social activities, and community outreach. Within these initiatives club focus on the China Business Conference, student events (educational, networking, and social) and several Asia treks. Will holds an Executive MBA from Columbia Business School, a Bachelor Math from the University of Waterloo. He speaks fluent English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Director (London and NYC)
Sam Berg has more than 12 years experience in the property industry, ranging from working in an agency in Central London to establishing and building a $300 million portfolio in New York for Rock Group. His extensive network of contacts and attention to detail has enabled him to be involved in the acquisition and disposal of more than £100 million worth of UK Real estate transactions in the last 4 years. A desire to continue his involvement in the New York Real Estate market was the driving force behind his real estate development work in New York City. He has successfully completed over $45 million worth of development transactions in NYC.
Director, Construction (Istanbul)
B. KAĞAN CEYLAN founded SPC Solutions Sustainability & Project Controls Consultancy in 2014, taking charge of the firm’s project management and green building services. He is responsible for the design and implementation of an integrated project controls and performance monitoring system for Antyap1-Procons Construction Co. Kagan will also establish an integrated quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) system for ESTA Construction Co. Kagan covers LEED certification support for the construction of Japan Tobacco International (JTI) headquarters in Moscow. He is also responsible for the LEED based design development of a Class A office building, under Signy Architects. Before founding SPC Solutions, Kagan served as the Director of Project Management Department of Uralsib Bank Asset Management from November 2013 to January 2014. As the Director, he took charge of management and control of real estate projects totalling 3 million m2. From August 2011 to November 2013, Kagan was the Deputy General Manager of Halk Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) in Istanbul, overseeing development projects worth more than $500 million. He headed the Construction Project Management Department of Ernst & Young CIS, Real Estate Advisory Services from July 2007 to August 2011. From 2011 to 1995, his work included research and teaching, policy development efforts, optimization models for precision irrigation and drainage systems, pre-project development, as well as project control and contract administration. He finished B.S. Civil Engineering from Middle East Technical University, and obtained M.Sc. in Civil Engineering and Doctor of Engineering from Texas A & M University. Kagan has more than 5 thought leadership publications, including refereed journal article; attended LEED and BREEAM trainings; and passed 7 professional certifications. Fluent in English and Turkish, he is also proficient in Russian and familiar with German language. He is competent in MS Project, Primavera PE, @Risk Management Software, and Lindo optimization software.
David Beer has designed many hotels for such companies as Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott and Intercontinental in his almost 40 years of hospitality work. He was recently honored for his work in restoring more than 30 hotels in New York City, nine of which have landmark status. Many of these hotels are among the city’s most treasured luxury properties including the Peninsula, the Pierre, the newly built Mandarin Oriental, and the totally redesigned St. Regis. Beer was responsible for the planning of the W New York Union Square Hotel, and internationally he has designed hotels in Africa, Russia, and most recently in Asia where his work for the Peninsula Group included a hotel in Bangkok and another on the historic Bund in Shanghai. His residential work includes apartment buildings in Indonesia, China, and several projects in New York. In the past years he was honored for three headquarters buildings including the Mellon Bank World Headquarters in Pittsburgh and the Barclays Bank Headquarters in New York. His vast portfolio includes: St. Regis, New York Peninsula, New York Mandarin Oriental Hotel, New York The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York InterContinental Hotel, Houston, TX InterContinental Hotel, Boston, MA Ritz Carlton Embassy Row, Washington, D.C The Four Seasons, Nanjing, China W Union Square, New York Waldorf Astoria, New York New York Palace, New York Beer is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, a recipient of the Pillar of New York Award, and a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He has lectured on hotel design at Harvard, Cornell University, Columbia University and NYU. Prior to joining Perkins Eastman, Beer was a founding partner at Brennan Beer Gorman Architects and Brennan Beer Gorman Monk/Interiors.