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Did We Really Buy That?  Organic vs M&A Growth Strategies

Moderated by
Reed Smith

Discussion Leader:   Gerard DiFiore

Panelists:   Richard Horner | Susan RoosJonathan Stearns | Richard Zytkowicz


CFOs and other members of senior management must consider a host of important and time sensitive matters when deciding on a growth strategy for their companies.

Attend this exciting panel discussion and hear subject matter experts who will explore various growth considerations, including how to: (i) assess and choose between an organic versus an M&A driven approach to growth; (ii) finance growth through traditional and alternative means;  (iii) create employee incentives to support growth initiatives; (iv) communicate with and effectively inform lenders, shareholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders, and; (v) develop an intelligent overall strategy, execute and integrate the plan that will best achieve your company’s objectives.





Gerard DiFiore HeadshotGerard DiFiore

Gerry has been a partner since 1998 and is currently the Chairman of the firm’s Securities Revie Committee and Deputy Chair of the Emerging Company/Global Venture Practice. Previously he spent three years as firmwide chair of the firm’s Corporate & Securities Group. Gerry started his legal career at the US Securities & Exchange Commission in Washington, DC.

Gerry brings 30 years of experience to each new engagement, focusing his practice on public and private securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate governance, corporate compliance and corporate transactional matters. He routinely works with senior management and private equity firms and their portfolio companies in reaching strategic goals, assisting companies in all stages of the growth cycle, from early stage private companies to mature publicly traded companies.

Gerry splits his time between Hong Kong and New York, handling domestic and cross border transactions in many industries including emerging technology, manufacturing & distribution, food and beverage, energy, life sciences, real estate and consumer products. During his career, he has handled capital markets and M&A matters having an aggregate transaction value in excess of $20 billion.

Clients frequently praise Gerry’s unique ability to “think like a CEO/CFO” as the key differentiator that separates him from other lawyers. He examines companies through the lens of a C-suite executive and combines his 30 years of corporate legal knowledge and experience to identify risk – without magnifying risk – to devise creative and effective solutions that enable clients to achieve strategic goals. This insight and experience enables Gerry to successfully counsel businesses through all stages of their growth.

About ReedSmith

Reed Smith represents many of the world’s leading companies in complex litigation and other high-stakes disputes, cross-border and other strategic transactions, and crucial regulatory matters.

With lawyers from coast-to-coast in the United States, as well as in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Reed Smith is known for its experience across a broad array of industry sectors. Reed Smith counsels 13 of the world’s 15 largest commercial and savings banks; 25 of the world’s 35 largest oil and gas companies; and the world’s three largest pharmaceutical distribution and wholesale companies. Reed Smith’s shipping practice has been designated among the most preeminent in the world, and its advertising law practice is regarded as among the legal industry’s finest.

Reed Smith has grown in large part because of its uncommon commitment to delivering high-quality service and developing long-term client relationships. Our lawyers’ approach to service begins by understanding clients’ business goals, then applying the resources necessary to help achieve them.

Based on the results of a survey of large and Fortune 1000 in-house counsel, the BTI Consulting Group has ranked Reed Smith among the top firms for client service eleven years running. Reed Smith has been identified as one of the few large law firms with a strategic focus on client satisfaction.


Richard HornerRichard Horner
Berkshire Blanket
Chief Financial Officer

Dick Horner builds value in private equity and venture backed companies by driving cultures that focus simultaneously on realism and outperformance.  Currently, as the CFO & Operations head of Berkshire Blanket, a $100 million leading designer and marketer of blankets, throws and warm sheets, he drove the business & financial transformation to put the company on a growth path.  Previously, as COO & CFO of Altec Lansing, a global $200 million best-in-class provider of audio consumer electronics, he drove a turnaround and transformation, followed by 2 years of 40%+ growth and industry-leading EBITDA, and the sale of Altec to Plantronics, generating a significant multiple for its investors.

Dicks’ previous experience in domestic and international companies in both B-to-B and B-to-C markets includes completing an IPO, leading two other turnarounds and engineering a 25% reduction in purchase value for an acquisition.  He consistently makes the tough decisions while improving productivity.  His high standards are rooted in early experience on the IBM team that helped put Neil Armstrong on the moon.

Dick earned a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Maryland and completed his MBA coursework at Pace University.


Susan Roos Lo ResSusan Roos
Lead Engagement Partner, Private Company Services

Susan is an Assurance Partner in the PCS practice at PwC. With over 25 years of experience in audit and assurance, Susan has worked with Fortune 50, middle market and early stage companies across several industries – including retail & consumer,  manufacturing/distribution,  services, and  technology. Susan has developed a broad base of business knowledge, including external and internal audit, business processes and controls, transaction assistance and general consulting. She has assisted many companies in improving their operational, financial, and compliance processes and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of their business. Accounting specialties include complex revenue recognition, transaction and acquisition accounting, and initial public offerings.

Currently, Susan is the lead audit partner on several PCS clients with revenues ranging from $30 million to several billion dollars.

About PwC US 
PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. They’re a member of the PwC network of firms, which has firms in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people. They’re committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services.



Jonathan StearnsJonathan Stearns
Stearns Associated Partners

Jonathan Stearns is the Founder of Stearns Associated Partners, a strategic consulting and transaction advisory firm.  Prior to Stearns Associated Partners, he was with PineBridge Investments and its predecessor AIG from 2006 to 2013. He has over 25 years experience in private capital investing across industries, capital structures and stages of development in companies located in the US, Western Europe, and Asia. He has served on the Board of Directors of numerous public and private companies and including the Board of Directors of Falcon Farms, Global Scholar, KUE, and Personal Communications Devices. Prior to joining PineBridge, he worked at Abbott Capital from 2001-2006, and managed its private equity co-investment program. From 1994-2000, he was a Managing Director of Equinox Investment Partners, a US $300+ million private capital investment company. Previously, he was a Director with various subsidiaries of Kleinwort Benson where he managed private capital investments in the US and Western Europe. Mr. Stearns received his BA in History and Political Science from The University of the South and studied economics and politics at the graduate school of Cornell University.


Richard ZytkowiczRichard A. Zytkowicz
Loughlin Management Partners + Company
Managing Director

Rick has more than 25 years of experience in investment banking, accounting and financial advisory services, executing transactions for a broad array of companies and financial sponsors. Rick leads LM+Co’s Corporate Finance practice, focusing on Mergers and Acquisitions, Capital Advisory and Business Valuation services. Rick has extensive experience across a wide variety of verticals including general industrials, financial services, healthcare, transportation and logistics, retail, consumer products, media, food + beverage and technology.

During his extensive investment banking career, Rick has raised in excess of $1 billion of senior and subordinated debt and equity capital for companies in the middle market, and has strong relationships with institutional capital providers in the market. Rick also has substantial M+A experience in highly dynamic and complex situations, including 363 asset sales, representing both private and public companies in the sale of their businesses.

Rick’s recent M+A experience includes leading the sell-side advisory for: Precision Kidd, Alex Apparel Group, Ronson Consumer Products Corporation, American Leather Specialties Corporation and Inspired Studios. In addition and most notably, Rick has raised capital for Dart Trucking Company, Diversified Holdings Group, Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad, Scitor Corporation, Marcal Paper Mills, Dawson Cashmere Company, Crane Technologies and Simèus Foods.

Prior to joining LM+Co, Rick held officer positions (ranging from Vice President to Managing Director) at Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, The DAK Group, Deloitte, and Arthur Andersen, LLP.

Rick earned a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from Wilkes College. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor (CIRA). Rick also holds Series 7, 63 and 24 licenses.

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