Advisory firm Teneo taps Rothschild vice chairman with bankruptcy bent

3 mins read

By Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK – Jay Goffman, a former bankruptcy lawyer and current vice chairman at Rothschild & Co, is joining CEO advisory firm Teneo to help lead its financial advisory business, he said.

The firm was expected to announce the move on Tuesday.

Goffman, 63, is the latest high-profile restructuring adviser to shift toward consulting and crisis management after practicing law or banking on Wall Street. Jon Henes, a former Kirkland & Ellis LLP restructuring partner, started strategic consulting firm C Street Advisory Group last year.

In addition to legal counsel and bankers who arrange financing, companies facing financial turmoil also rely on crisis managers to help navigate relations with employees, suppliers, government officials and media coverage.

Goffman headed or co-led the restructuring practice at law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP for roughly a dozen years before moving to Rothschild as a banker helping distressed companies obtain fresh financing and rework their balance sheets.

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After a spate of bankruptcies following the COVID-19 pandemic, corporate restructurings have slowed amid low interest rates and recovering financial markets. Federal Reserve policymakers, though, have signaled a looming rate hike in part to battle inflation, which Goffman contends could contribute to another wave of restructurings for companies that have not addressed unsustainable debts.

“It’s hard to put an exact date on it, but it’s coming,” Goffman said, adding he worries the next cycle of distress could be “longer and deeper.”

Teneo, meanwhile, acquired Deloitte’s UK restructuring business last year and in 2020 acquired Goldin Associates, a financial advisory firm focused on distressed companies. Teneo is currently advising OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP on its bankruptcy case.

Goffman helped pioneer so-called prepackaged bankruptcies, in which companies and creditors present an agreed-upon restructuring to a judge right after filing for Chapter 11 in an effort to limit the amount of time spent navigating court proceedings.

One company Goffman advised, school bus manufacturer Blue Bird, used the strategy to receive bankruptcy-court approval of its reorganization in less than two days.

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He also worked on the bankruptcies of solar-energy company SunEdison Inc in 2016 and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the famed movie studio with the roaring lion logo that filed for Chapter 11 in 2010. When the parent of American Airlines filed for bankruptcy in 2011, he advised creditors and helped engineer a merger with rival US Airways.

(Reporting by Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)