Daily News: August 9, 2012

Charles River Expands Energy, Environment Advisory Capabilities


Charles River Associates (CRA), a provider in economic, financial and management consulting services, announced that energy expert Loretta Cross has joined the firm as a vice president in the Energy & Environment Practice in Houston.

Joining along with Cross to create a Houston-based energy restructuring team for the firm are principals Robert S. Moore II and Vernon T. Jones, Jr. and associate principal John D. Baumgartner, all from Grant Thornton. They join others in Houston, including new vice president and international arbitration expert Laura Hardin (announced on July 23, 2012), who are helping to establish a new presence for the firm in that market.

Cross has more than 25 years of experience in corporate strategy, operational improvement, litigation support, financial consulting, and restructuring. She is a recognized expert in the energy industry, and her experience includes all areas of the BTU value chain from exploration and production to consumption. She advises businesses from privately held companies to large international enterprises and has worked with exploration and production companies, oilfield services companies, power generation companies, pipelines, refineries, and retail energy providers, among others. Her specialties include: debt restructuring; business valuation; financial forecasting; forensic analysis; regulatory compliance; litigation support; commercial litigation; damage calculations; and bankruptcy. Cross has been a key business advisor to parties in some of the nation’s largest bankruptcies and restructurings and she has provided expert testimony in numerous courts across the United States. In addition, she has made dozens of presentations and written numerous publications about restructuring and valuation.

Prior to joining CRA, Cross held leadership positions at several firms, most recently at Grant Thornton, where she was managing partner, Energy Advisory, Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services and founder of the practice. Her professional certifications include: Certified Public Accountant (CPA); Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (CIRA); and Certification in Distressed Business Valuation (CDBV).

Moore has more than 30 years of corporate restructuring, corporate finance and investment banking experience and he is experienced in debtor and creditor advisory, turnaround consulting, and restructuring engagements. Moore has worked in industries that include oil and gas, energy services, power and utilities, manufacturing, real estate, distribution, telecommunications, and industrial and consumer services. He has been involved with both out-of-court and in-court engagements where he has advised secured creditors, debtors, investors, professionals, and trustees. His areas of expertise include business plan analysis, cash flow modeling and analyses, structuring and negotiating debt and equity financing, liquidation analyses, fairness opinions, valuations, sales and dispositions of assets or businesses, formulation of reorganization plans and disclosure statements, and related bankruptcy consulting. In addition, he has completed numerous public and private financing and acquisition transactions and other financial advisory assignments.

Prior to joining CRA, Moore was a director in the Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services Practice at Grant Thornton. He was previously a Director at Alvarez & Marsal and a managing director in the Global Corporate Finance and Restructuring Group at Arthur Andersen. Prior to his more recent restructuring activities, Moore served as the CFO of a public manufacturing and distribution company and in senior corporate finance positions with several investment banking firms in Houston. He is a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor and a member of the Turnaround Management Association, the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors, and the American Bankruptcy Institute.

Jones has more than 30 years of corporate management experience in the energy industry. He has served in diverse roles ranging from performing as a Trustee and Receiver to being involved with valuation and dispute resolution engagements. His experience spans such areas as dispute consulting and expert witness services, management consulting, and valuation. His litigation experience includes commodity purchase/sales and services contract disputes, fraud, anti-competitive practices, valuation and pricing related to tax and royalty payments, and asset and stock sale transaction disputes. He has also provided strategy assessment and planning services for energy, utility, production, and marketing companies. Jones’ valuation experience includes production processes, pipelines, processing plants, portfolios of energy, Initial Public Offerings, financings, and post-transaction price allocations. In addition, he has testified on energy derivative values and risk management practices of the industry in more than a dozen cases involving disputes totaling billions of dollars. Early in his career, he started one of the first nationally recognized independent natural gas marketing companies resulting from deregulation of the industry.

Jones joined CRA from Grant Thornton where he was a director in the Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services Practice. Prior to joining Grant Thornton, he worked as a trustee for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy of an energy marketing concern in liquidation and he provided expert witness services on a number of high profile trading cases in the Enron bankruptcy. He previously worked as a director in Energy Strategic Advisory Services at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

Baumgartner has more than 15 years of restructuring, consulting, and corporate finance experience. He has been involved with financial and operational restructurings, solvency analyses, fraudulent transfer disputes, investigations of fraud and misconduct, forensic accounting investigations, valuation of enterprises and operating assets, asset divestitures and acquisitions, and due diligence. He has advised trustees, debtors, senior lenders, mezzanine lenders, and unsecured creditors of companies in industries that include power and utilities, retail gas marketing, retail power marketing, midstream energy companies, webhosting/e-commerce, healthcare, transportation, and retail services.

Prior to joining CRA, Baumgartner was an experienced manager in Grant Thornton’s Corporate Advisory and Restructuring Services Practice. Previously, he worked with an international expert services firm where he provided bankruptcy and restructuring services to debtors, trustees, lenders, and other creditors. He also worked in the restructuring practices of boutique consulting and investment banking firms and an international public accounting firm. A Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (CIRA), Baumgartner is also a member of the Turnaround Management Association (where he serves on the National Education Committee and as a Houston Chapter Board Member), the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors.

In addition to the energy restructuring group in Houston, CRA announced on July 23, 2012 that international arbitration expert Laura Hardin joined the firm as a vice president in that market. Hardin specializes in damage quantification, business valuation, and forensic accounting for international arbitration disputes across a variety of industries, including oil and gas, mining, and aviation. Houston-based associate principal Elizabeth Jackson has also joined the firm to assist Hardin on matters pertaining to dispute analysis, forensic analysis, corporate fraud investigations, and economic analysis and damage calculations.