The Nastiest Man in Restructuring | Middle Market Musings Podcast

The nastiest man in restructuring

Gordian Group President Peter S. Kaufman, considered by some as the nastiest man in restructuring, is featured in the Middle Market Musings podcast as a guest with hosts Andy Greenberg, CEO of Greenberg Variations Capital and Charlie Gifford, Senior Partner at New Heritage Capital. This podcast is dedicated to the people and ideas of the Middle Market.

Key Topics discussed and questions answered in this interview include:

  • Has the distressed and restructuring arena changed a lot since you first started in the industry?
  • When does conflict-free advice mean and how is it important to the role of Gordian?
  • Why are you known as the “Nastiest Man in Restructuring?”
  • How has this cycle been different than anything before?
  • From the standpoint of optionality, how are businesses being structured now so they can survive dire situations in their industries?
  • Why are you focused on the Middle Market?
  • Debt write downs, covenant and principle and interest rate holidays

Listen now! Use the timestamp below to replay parts of the discussion.

00:00 | Intros 

01:00 | Welcome

01:25 | What do you attribute to the fact that there are 500 conventional investment bankers to every 1 distressed investment banker?

02:40 | The universe has evolved a lot since you started in the industry. Has the distressed / restructuring practice changed a lot?

04:19 | What about the wave of the evolution of the commercial banks, going back a generation, so much of the action began with the commercial lenders?

05:19 | You often talk about conflict-free advice in the role of Gordian, can you share a little bit what the means and why it’s important?

06:48 | I imagine you wear the “nastiest” man in restructuring on your CV?

08:13 | Having been through this experience in different cycles in different years, how has this cycle been different in kind than anything You have experienced before?

10:55 | Has COVID accelerated restructuring for bricks and mortar business such as retail, gyms, conventions and hotels. And, what type of debt relief have you been able to achieve for your clients recently? Debt write downs, covenant and principle and interest payment holidays?

13:10 | Take all of the industries that you mentioned as examples, there is some degree of unknown in people in the pandemic. From the standpoint of optionality, are these businesses being structured so they can survive the most dire resolutions in their industries?

16:10 | When you say we are not going back to the days of 2019, you’re talking about for those industries and troubled credits –in all of those cases, there are other more favored businesses and business models?

17:16 | We have been talking about some of the extraordinary events we have been through, inflation is on the horizon, what’s your take on it, based on your practice?

18:50 | Peter, you serve a clientele, mainly partners of private equity firms that are very bright and may not be the easiest to please…when you are trying to market to a group of people when you are trying to market yourself – how do you address it?

23:00 | One of the things you do better than most, Peter, is building the Gordian brand. When you think about building your own brand and your business, the external piece is something you focus a lot on, how has that been helpful to you and has it ever been a challenge?

25:23 | If you woke up tomorrow and you were a senior partner and conventional non-descript, distressed investment bank, would you be as successful at it?

26:50 | As the nastiest man in restructuring, I assume that you eat nails for breakfast….what are the habits, culture and partnership in Gordian, how relevant is it to your own success and firm’s success?

28:45 | Why is your focus on the middle-market and not on the up market?

29:38 | There is a well publicized glut of grapes in the wine industry, what was the opportunity that led you to think that this would be a great investment opportunity

31:06 | If you were on a desert island for the year and only had one case of wine, what kind would you have?

32:53 | I saw that you were an editor at the Yale Daily News back in college, what did you take out of the journalism experience that has helped you in life and shaped your interests?

36:12 | Tell us about your golf writing

37:10 | You were nice of enough to share an article you just wrote on Chi Chi Rodriguez – how did you come to that?

38:45 | Who’s going to win the Masters this year?

38:53 | The comment that really struck me in the interview, is that Chi Chi stopped playing golf because he could no longer hear the sound of its shot – that was such an interesting comment, and I think about our fields – the question that I will throw for the group is – what is the question for that in our field?

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Contact Us for Unconflicted Advice

At Gordian Group, we are delighted to discuss restructuring scenarios with sponsors and offer unconflicted advice.
To set up a call, please contact Leslie Glassman.