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Current Issues Facing Unsecured Creditors' Committees

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 61 minutes
Recorded Date: December 07, 2018
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  • Introduction to Creditors' Committees
  • The Committee's Role to Maximize Value, Shifting Trends for Committees, and Committees in SME Cases
  • Typical Strategies Employed by Committees
  • The Role of Committee Members, Committee Professionals Issues, Composition of Committees, and Potential Conflicts between Committee Members
  • Issues Involving Independent Directors in Bankruptcy
  • Rights Offerings
  • Prepackages/Pre-Negotiated Case Trends and RSA Issues
Runtime: 1 hour
Recorded: December 7, 2018


This panel of experienced professionals will discuss and analyze what it takes to maximize results for unsecured creditors in today’s chapter 11 cases.

This program was recorded on December 7th, 2018.

Provided By

American Bankruptcy Institute
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Blanche Zelmanovich

Managing Director
Ernst & Young LLP

Blanche Zelmanovich serves as a Managing Director of EY's Restructuring practice. Ms. Zelmanovich focuses on both company- and secured lender-side engagements involving clients in a broad range of industries. Ms. Zelmanovich has extensive experience in matters involving financial restructurings, bankruptcy, insolvency, transaction due diligence, fraud and forensic investigations and damages.

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Samuel E. Star

Senior Managing Director, Corporate Finance & Restructuring
FTI Consulting, Inc.

Samuel Star is a Senior Managing Director in the Turnaround & Restructuring practice and specializes in providing services to creditors in Chapter 11 and out-of-court workout situations. He has over 25 years in the restructuring business as a leader in advising all types of creditor constituencies. Mr. Star’s industry experience includes airlines, automotive, chemicals, consumer products, energy and financial services.

Mr. Star has provided in-court testimony on various topics, including financing and plan confirmation issues. Chapter 11 and out-of-court restructuring cases that Mr. Star has been involved with include Abengoa US, Abitibi Bowater, Arcapita Bank, Avaya, Caesars Entertainment, Cengage Learning, Cenveo Corporation, Corus Bankshares, Dana Corporation, Dewey & LeBoeuf, Endeavour International, Graceway Pharmaceuticals, Grubb & Ellis, Gibson Brands, Harry & David, Horsehead, Journal Register Company, Lehman Brothers, Lionel, Momentive Performance, New Century Financial, Northwest Airlines, Optima Specialty Steel, Ormet Corporation, Reichhold Industries, SageCrest Finance, Sears, Smurfit Stone Container, Toys “R” Us, U.S. Airways, Vantage Drilling, Verity Health System and Visteon.

Mr. Star is also a frequent speaker for various organizations on matters impacting the rights of unsecured creditors. His speaking engagements have included “Current Issues Facing Unsecured Creditors’ Committees” at the ABI Winter Leadership Conference in December 2018; “Corporate Restructuring Outlook in 2017” at the Bryan Cave Corporate Trust/Distressed Investing Roundtable; “Modern Day 363 Sale Best Practices” at the ABI Winter Leadership Conference in December 2015; “Emergent Topics Facing Indenture Trustees and Bondholders” at the Beard Distressed Investing Conference in November 2015; “Understanding Pension Plan Liabilities” at the SRZ Distressed Investor Conference in November 2014; “Chapter 11 Asset Sales: What’s The Government Got To Do With It?” at the American Bar Association in April 2013; “Addressing Legacy Liabilities in Chapter 11 Cases” at the American Bankruptcy Institute in November 2012; “Restructuring Project-Financed Power Plants” at FBR in September 2011; “Litigation in Complex Bankruptcies” at the AIRA Advanced Restructuring and Plan of Reorganization Conference in November 2010; “Retail Industry Trends – Online Retailing, Credit Markets” at the North American Retail Industry Credit Group in July 2010; “Cross Border Defaults and Other Current Topics” at the The Association of Corporate Trustees and “North American Distressed Debt Market Outlook 2009” at Debtwire.

Thought leadership published by Mr. Star includes “For Better or Worse, Prepackaged and Pre-Negotiated Filings Now Account for Most Reorganizations” in the ABI Journal in 2018, “Interview, Selection, Retention and Role of Financial Advisors” in The Role of Creditors’ Committees in Chapter 11 Bankruptcies, Aspatore Books in 2008; “Actions Individual Creditors Can Take” in The Credit Executives’ Guide to Business Restructuring, FTI Consulting in 2006 and “New Chapter 11 Information – Sharing Rules Present Challenges” in Daily Bankruptcy Review Viewpoint in 2006.

Prior to joining FTI Consulting, Mr. Star was a Managing Director in Ernst & Young’s Corporate Finance practice.

Mr. Star holds a B.S. in accounting from the State University of New York at Albany. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the state of New York and a Certified Turnaround Professional.

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Richard S. Lauter

Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP

Rich Lauter is a partner in the Chicago office of Lewis Brisbois and Chair of the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Practice. Mr. Lauter has over 35 years of experience in corporate restructuring and insolvency.

Mr. Lauter's wide range of legal experience includes reorganizing financially distressed companies in and outside of chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, representing and advising creditors' committees, financial institutions, real estate development firms, bankruptcy trustees, assignees, and receivers in all aspects of creditors' rights and insolvency matters. He has also served as a liquidating trustee, special counsel to the City of Chicago in multiple airline and airport related cases, counseled chapter 7, chapter 11, and liquidating trustees in numerous cases, and acted as chairperson for and represented numerous chapter 11 creditors' committees.

Mr. Lauter is considered to be one of the leading lawyers for chapter 11 creditors' committees in the United States and is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bankruptcy Institute.

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Anupama Yerramalli

Special Counsel
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Anupama Yerramalli represents a diverse range of clients, including debtors, official committees, bondholders and other creditors and investors in bankruptcy cases, out-of-court restructurings and other distressed situations. Anu has been involved in some of the most complex and multifaceted bankruptcies and restructurings across a diverse range of industries including health care, shipping, telecommunications, manufacturing and retail.

On the company side, Anu recently represented an independent director of VER Technologies and a large New York City acute-care, community-based teaching hospital in its complex financial and operational restructuring. She also represented Targus, the global leader in mobile device and accessories solutions in its out-of-court restructuring and the prepackaged Chapter 11 cases of certain affiliates, and international dry bulk shipper Genco Shipping & Trading and 57 affiliates in their contested prepackaged Chapter 11 cases that restructured $1.4 billion of debt.

Anu complements her company-side practice with her experience representing creditors. She currently represents an ad hoc group of first lien lenders and bondholders in connection with Westmoreland Coal Company, the sixth largest North American coal producer and Subaru Corp. and Mazda Corp. in connection with the global restructuring of Takata Corp., the airbag inflator supplier at the center of the largest auto supplier recall in history. She is also representing Hildene Capital Management LLC in connection with the Scottish Holdings Inc. chapter 11 cases. She recently represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of CHC Group Ltd., the largest commercial helicopter service provider primarily servicing the oil and gas industry, and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 cases of NII Holdings Inc., a leading provider of mobile communications operating under the Nextel brand in Latin America, in connection with the $1.9 billion sale of its Mexican operations and confirmation of its Chapter 11 plan that converted $4.4 billion of unsecured bond debt into equity of the reorganized company. Anu also represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Patriot Coal Corp. (2012 case) and that of Hostess Brands Inc.

Anu serves on Kramer Levin’s Women’s Initiative Committee, Alumni Relations Committee and previously served as an elected member of Kramer Levin’s Associates Committee from 2012 – 2016, where she represented associates in supporting goals such as business and professional development, mentoring, and recruitment and retention.

Anu also currently serves on the Associate Board of Reading Partners New York and the board of the Young Professionals Mentoring Program and has been a mentor with the organization for ten years.

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