Admiral A.B. Cruz III
Since April 2020, Admiral Cruz has been a Senior Advisor at BarkerGilmore LLC, where he provides executive coaching, leadership development and executive search services to legal leaders, CEOs and corporate boards. Since November 2019, he has served as the President of the Board of Governors for the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. From September 2016 to October 2018, he served as Senior Vice President & Divisional General Counsel at USAA, a Fortune 100 financial services company, where he led the legal teams that supported the Company’s C-suite members and their organizations. He spearheaded the optimization of the chief legal office’s operating and interaction models, and reviewed and approved new products and services to foster USAA’s future growth, competitiveness, and technology transformation. From 2013-2016, Admiral Cruz was Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Corporate Secretary, Chief Compliance & Ethics Officer, and PAC chairman for Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. (NYSE: EBS). From 2008 to 2012, Admiral Cruz served as Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary for Scripps Networks Interactive, Inc. (Nasdaq: SNI), and from 2004-2008 was Executive Vice President & General Counsel for The E.W. Scripps Company (Nasdaq: SSP). He was Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of BET Networks, playing a leading role in BET’s $3 billion merger with Viacom (Nasdaq: VIA). Other private sector roles include serving as an attorney at Wiley Rein LLP, Roberts & Eckard, Gardner Carton & Douglas, and Leventhal Senter & Lerman.
Admiral Cruz served the United States in the US Navy for 33 years, including the following command positions: Reserve Deputy Commander, Maritime Operations at US Fleet Forces Command; Deputy Commander at US Naval Forces Command / US Fourth Fleet; Deputy Commander, Navy Region Southwest; Commanding Officer, Naval Expeditionary Combat Command; Commanding Officer, Naval Inspector General; Commanding Officer, Harbor Defense Command 207; Commanding Officer, Naval Special Warfare Unit 2; and Commanding Officer, Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare 206. Admiral Cruz holds a JD from The Catholic University of America, an MA in Marketing from The University of Maryland, and a BS in General Engineering & Physical Sciences from U.S. Naval Academy. Admiral Cruz has served on numerous boards and previously served as the board chair for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. He currently serves as an advisory board member for Bellatorum Resources as well as VetStoreUSA. He. is also a board director and committee chair for the Yellow Ribbon Fund, a board director and governance committee chair for the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, and a board director for the Down Syndrome Association of South Texas. He also serves as a board trustee, executive committee member and finance committee chair for Saint Mary’s Hall, and as a board trustee and governance committee member for the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association & Foundation.
Co-President and Director
Gus Garcia has been our Co-President since March 2021. Mr. Garcia is the former Head of SPAC M&A for Bank of America, where he spent the last 14 years and was responsible for advising private companies and SPACs on all aspects of mergers involving SPACs. Over the last 12 months alone, Mr. Garcia has advised on 11 SPAC transactions with ~$20 billion in negotiated equity value. For the transactions that have already closed, the median percentage of SPAC shareholders that redeemed for cash is below 1%. The five most recently announced SPAC transactions that Mr. Garcia advised on are the sale of Spire Global to NavSight Holdings, the sale of Origin Materials to Artius Acquisition Inc., the sale of Owlet to Sandbridge Acquisition Corp., the sale of XOS to NextGen Acquisition Corp. and the acquisition of EVgo by Climate Change Crisis Real Impact Acquisition Corp. In addition, Mr. Garcia has worked on and overseen transactions with an excess of $150 billion in value across PIPEs, corporate separations and other mergers & acquisitions. Prior to being the Head of SPAC M&A, Mr. Garcia led the separations practice for Bank of America where he focused on complex corporate transactions such as spin-offs (including one of the top 5 largest spin-offs in corporate history), split-offs, reverse morris trusts, carve-out IPOs and structured private capital raises. Prior to the merger with Bank of America, Mr. Garcia worked at Merrill Lynch in the Corporate Finance group where he also focused on complex corporate transactions, as well as structured investments held on the bank's balance sheet in partnership with Merrill Lynch's Global Principal Investment group. Prior to Merrill Lynch, Mr. Garcia worked in HSBC's Healthcare Investment Banking Group and, prior to HSBC, he worked in Wells Fargo Securities' M&A group. Mr. Garcia also sits on the Board of Directors for New York Cares. Mr. Garcia graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Science in International Commerce & Finance from Georgetown University in 2003. We believe Mr. Garcia is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his SPAC experience.
Alexandra Lebenthal is a Senior Advisor in the Financial Sponsors Group at Houlihan Lokey where she leads an initiative focused on female led and founded companies. Prior to joining Houlihan in August 2020, she was the CEO of Lebenthal Holdings, a diversified financial services firm that included the nation’s largest woman-owned broker dealer. Coming from a storied Wall Street family, her grandparents, Louis and Sayra Lebenthal, founded Lebenthal & Co., Inc, a municipal bond specialist, in 1925. Her father, Jim Lebenthal, created a mass market for municipal bonds, and was known as the spokesman for the industry.
After starting her career at Kidder Peabody, Ms. Lebenthal joined Lebenthal in 1988 and became President and CEO in 1995 at the age of 31. She was also President of Lebenthal Funds, overseeing the firm’s mutual and money market funds. After successfully diversifying the firm beyond municipal bonds, Alexandra engineered its sale in 2001 to The Advest Group, remaining at the firm until it was subsequently sold to Merrill Lynch in 2005. During that time, in addition to managing Lebenthal, she also ran marketing and municipal capital markets for the parent company. She started anew in 2007, building Lebenthal Holdings into an asset management, wealth management and capital markets boutique. Lebenthal was the number one woman-owned firm in debt and equity capital markets from 2012-2016.
A passionate supporter of women in business, Ms. Lebenthal was named one of the top 50 Women in Wealth Management by Wealth Manager Magazine, as well as Private Asset Management. She has also been named to the Crain’s New York Top Women-Owned Businesses and the Crain’s Fastest 50 Growing Businesses in New York.
Ms. Lebenthal has extensive public and private board experience. She currently is a board member of Graf Acquisition Corp. IV, and an advisory board member for Interprice Technologies. She is as a former board member and Treasurer of the Securities Industry Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). She is a member of C200, the leading organization for female businesswomen.
Ms. Lebenthal is the Co-founder of “The Women’s Executive Circle,” and “Women On Wall Street”, which cultivates high-profile Jewish women under the auspices of United Jewish Appeal. She is also a spokesperson for Insightec Targeted Ultrasound, a ground-breaking procedure for Essential Tremor she underwent in 2016.
Ms. Lebenthal’s first novel, “The Recessionistas,” a thriller set in Manhattan during the financial crisis, was published in August 2010.
A graduate of Princeton University with an A.B. in history, Ms. Lebenthal lives in New York City with her family.
Jeanne L. Manischewitz
Ms. Manischewitz is an experienced fiduciary and investment professional with over 25 years in the financial services industry. She currently serves as an independent director of Healthcare Services Acquisition Corp., a SPAC. Most recently she spent 15 years at York Capital Management where she was a portfolio manager and a partner of the firm until September 2020. During that time, she also served on the firm’s ESG committee and was a steering committee member of the Women's Network. Prior to her time at York Capital Management, Ms. Manischewitz spent a total of seven years as a senior credit analyst at Moore Capital Management and Halcyon Capital Management. Ms. Manischewitz started her career on Wall Street as an investment banker at Salomon Smith Barney. Ms. Manischewitz received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University.
Edwin J. Rigaud
Mr. Rigaud has more than 40 years of business experience across a multitude of operating and leadership roles. He served as Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Legacy Acquisition Corp., a SPAC, since its inception in November 2017 until the closing of its business combination with PARTS iD, Inc. in November 2020. He continues to serve as a member of the board of directors of PARTS iD, Inc. In 2007, Mr. Rigaud founded EnovaPremier and commenced operations through the acquisition of the assets of T&WA, Inc. from entrepreneur Tommie Burns and his partner, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Since that time, he has served as owner and the President and Chief Executive Officer of EnovaPremier (2007-2018) and as Chairman (2019) while guiding that company to a position as one of the leading providers of automotive tire & wheel pre-assembly services in the United States. Prior to founding EnovaPremier, Mr. Rigaud served in numerous operating and management capacities at Procter & Gamble from 1965 to 2001. Mr. Rigaud’s notable leadership positions at Procter & Gamble included his role as a Vice President of Food & Beverage Products and as a Vice President of Government Relations in North America. Adding to his experience as a senior manager, Mr. Rigaud developed significant expertise in product development and brand management having been the first Technical Brand Manager in the exploratory phase of Pringles, and ultimately the Product Development Group Leader during the execution of Pringles’ national launch. Mr. Rigaud also led the product development efforts of Secret Deodorant & Antiperspirant improvements, including key active ingredient technology and perfume upgrades, while having direct participation with the Leo Burnett Agency in the creation of the famous advertising slogan, “strong enough for a man, but made for a woman.” Mr. Rigaud’s leadership in these efforts helped to facilitate a major relaunch of the Secret brand. He was ultimately named a Director in Product Development. Outside of his corporate leadership experience, Mr. Rigaud has served on the Board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Board of the local affiliate of Fifth Third Bank of Cincinnati. Mr. Rigaud has also held appointments by Governor Bob Taft to the Ohio Board of Regents, and by President George W. Bush to the national Institute of Museum and Library Services. In 1997, Mr. Rigaud became the first CEO of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, located in Cincinnati, Ohio. This 9-year development program included raising $110 million while working closely with John Pepper, former Chairman and CEO of Procter & Gamble, who served as the national building Campaign Chairman. Mr. Rigaud is also the head of one of the first African American co-ownership groups of a Major League Baseball franchise, the Cincinnati Reds.
Co-President and Director
Lewis Silberman has been our Co-President since March 2021. Mr. Silberman is the former Head of SPAC Equity Capital Markets for Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., where he led financings for the firm’s SPAC IPOs and business combination clients. Over the past year, Mr. Silberman has managed SPAC IPOs including Gig4 Acquisition Corp. (GIGGU), Noble Rock Acquisition Corp. (NRACU), MDH Acquisition (MDH/U), Class Acceleration Corp. (CLAS/U), and Rodgers Silicon Valley Acquisition Corp. (RSVAU). Additionally, over the past year, Mr. Silberman and his team acted in an advisory or placement agent role on transactions including Ascendent Acquisition Corp.’s combination with financial media and content company Beacon Street Group Holdings, Rodgers Silicon Valley Acquisition Corp.’s combination with next-generation battery manufacturer Enovix, Alpha Healthcare Acquisition Corp.’s combination with bioengineering firm Humacyte, Acies Acquisition Corp.’s combination with mobile gaming and loyalty rewards program company PlayStudios, GigCapital2’s combination with healthcare technology provider UpHealth/Cloudbreak, and Roth CH Acquisition I Co.’s combination with PureCycle Technologies. Prior to his role in Oppenheimer’s Equity Capital Markets group, Mr. Silberman was the Head of Equity Sales for Oppenheimer for five years. Before joining Oppenheimer, Mr. Silberman spent three years at CIBC World Markets Corp., where he worked in a special situations client-coverage group focused on strategies including merger-arbitrage, ADR-arbitrage, and closed-end fund arbitrage. Prior to CIBC World Markets, Mr. Silberman worked at PaineWebber, Inc. Mr.Silberman holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, with a dual major in finance and marketing (2000), as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the Stern School at New York University, with a dual concentration in Financial Markets and Management (2010). Mr.Silberman has completed three New York City Marathons (2017, 2018, 2019) as a member of Fred’s Team to raise money for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. We believe Mr. Silberman is qualified to serve on our board of directors because of his SPAC experience.