Managing Director, 375 Park Associates
375 Park Associates is a strategic growth advisory firm which helps private equity firms investing in middle market companies overcome challenges in their portfolio. Our partners and associates have closed transactions in the U.S. and abroad ranging from USD 10Mn to USD 150Mn in value. We specialize in providing debt and merger solutions as well as support for Asia-Pacific expansion and decision support and targeting. 375 Park Associates is headquartered in New York and has offices in Hong Kong as well as affiliates in Asia, Europe, and the U.S.
Mr. Thomas specializes in business development, structured finance, and LBOs with a focus on disruptive companies in the energy, life sciences, and water industries. Mr. Thomas has been based in Asia since 2003 and has assisted many U.S.-based firms to expand their presence in the region. Results include reducing costs by more than 20% and increasing profits by millions of dollars.
Prior to joining 375 Park Associates, Mr. Thomas was the Regional Director and Managing Partner of IMC International Asia-Pacific, an international M&A advisory firm that specializes in internationalization and turnarounds. At IMC, Mr. Thomas worked on several LBO teams, led a joint venture with a New York-based hedge fund, and started a ship finance operation. Mr. Thomas spent four years as the Managing Director & President of Foundation Consulting, a company that was acquired by IMC in 2013.
Mr. Thomas has held management positions within Fortune 500 companies in the US and has led business units of ultra-growth companies in Asia-Pacific with P&Ls in excess of US $ 30 million. Besides acting as an advisor to several start-ups in the U.S. and Asia, Mr. Thomas is also a member of the advisory councils of the Harvard Business Review, CX@Rutgers, McKinsey Quarterly, and the Gerson Lehrman Group.
Mr. Thomas studied Organizational Communications, Learning, and Design at Ithaca College and has a Bachelor’s of Science in Communications from Almeda University as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from Edinburgh Business School at Herriot Watt University.
In addition to his other work, Mr. Thomas is Director of Financial Advisory for Mazars Oman and is a judge for the 16th Annual M&A Advisor Awards.
The awards, celebrated since 2001, are widely respected as a pinnacle of achievement in our industry, recognize excellence in deal making, restructuring, and financing.
What do I do? I’m a plumber – in a metaphysical sense.
I help clients solve their challenges in their portfolios. This ranges to everything from providing valuation opinions on current or planned assets, performing due diligence on targeted acquisitions, linking clients with much-needed customers or capital, and helping formulate and execute strategies to win big in the market.
What a long, strange trip its been.
I started in operations and then sales way back in the 1990s and then transitioned into management consulting in the early 2000s. From there I got involved in more and more M&A related assignments – including special financing situations. Since 2013, I’ve worked almost exclusively in finance and even served as a Director of Corporate Finance for a global accounting firm’s operation in the GCC region.
Without giving away the baby with the bathwater, trends we are following closely include Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), batteries, wind generation, and blockchain. There are other trends, of course, but these five trends will transform our world in the decade ahead.
The biggest challenge we face is the battle for talent – especially as a boutique firm. To overcome this, we’ve had to invest in the automation and standardization of processes, when appropriate, and leveraging talent pools from around the world.
I spend a lot of time in Asia, up to 10-months per year. When we started 375 Park Associates, we started with a simple question. ‘What does Asia need?’ The answer, at least for us, was access to better healthcare, energy security, and water security. This could be achieved by connecting disruptive technology companies in the U.S. and Europe with customers and capital from Asia.
My future desire for 375 Park Associates? Actually, I just like solving problems. Be it helping a client to value a dynamic investment portfolio, to formulating a winning strategy. The satisfaction of solving problems for my clients (for a charge of course) and riding my bike in every country I go to is about as good as it gets.
The idea was simple. ‘Why buy a boat, when you can buy a company that builds boats.’ I love sailing and we had a great team – so it seemed like a dream project.
Lesson learned; the bid process in Italian bankruptcy courts is not always fair as someone on the inside might tip off your competitor to your bid.
There is no one ‘ideal’.
Instead, the focus needs to be on getting to know your customers and what they want. Technology has made this easier than ever before by not only streamlining business processes but also giving you tremendous insight into what it is that your customers want from you. If you can get this right, then your customers will become your most valuable sales team.
When I was a kid, it was the daily beatings. Ok, that was a joke.
My secret for motivating my team is three-fold. First, get to know them – you don’t need to be their friend but get to understand what makes your team tick. Second, show that you will stand up for the team. Third, lead from the front.
Find what it is that you love about finance and then turn this into what you do every day. If you can do this, then you will be almost 50 (like me) and loving what you do.
Solve problems. Even though I worked in close to 20 industries, I never take anything for granted. Instead, I treat each situation as unique. From there I dissect the issues and then focus on the points of leverage.
My family – without them I am nothing.
Fenway Park or on my bike – the latter is where I can grind on a challenge for hours until I find a breakthrough moment.
Cycling. I might never win the Paris Roubaix, but I’ve been fortunate to ride in more than 10 countries.