KAILUA, Hawaii--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AKAMAI Capital, LLC, the investment arm of the AKAMAI Foundation, an emerging Hawaii-based, non-profit community development financial institution dedicated to economic development and training, today announced the appointment of seven widely respected business professionals to its advisory board.
The Board will be led by Roger H. Epstein, the senior partner of the firm and chairman of the tax department for Cades Schutte, Hawaii’s preeminent full-service law firm.
“As a board, we look forward to supporting the important work of AKAMAI Capital and the AKAMAI Foundation,” Mr. Epstein said. “It’s critical for Hawaii that we develop the business and financial skills of our people and particularly our youth.”
“We are very excited to welcome these world-class professionals to our Board of Advisors,” said Benjamin W. Lau, CEO of AKAMAI Capital. “At AKAMAI, we are all about enhancement and expansion of the personal and professional possibilities frontier for our students, our graduates and the members of our team. We appreciate the generous and invaluable support of this council of top-shelf talents and their commitment to helping us achieve our goals.”
Louis F. Perez III, Founder and Chairman of The AKAMAI Foundation, commented: “This is another huge step forward for us. The caliber of the members of our advisory board is beyond impressive, as is their willingness to partner with us and contribute their expertise and guidance, as we increase our efforts to educate and develop our students and graduates, and transform business opportunities in Hawaii, particularly in our underserved communities.”
John Morton, a senior specialist at The World Bank who is among the new board members, commented: “What Louis has built out of his own spirit and commitment is impressive; the work that is being done by the AKAMAI Finance Academy graduates and AKAMAI Capital team contain many of the elements I see in our project financing work at my own bank and I know the work is appreciated by the clients they serve. As someone who spends his time investing in similar work, I can very sincerely share with you: I believe AKAMAI is professional, well-founded and has a lot of potential.”
Appointed members to AKAMAI’s Advisory Board are:
Roger H. Epstein, Chairman of the Tax Department of Cades Schutte, has extensive experience in all areas of tax law. His areas of practice include corporate, partnership, real estate and international tax law, as well as tax planning, Hawaii state taxation, and tax controversies. He has extensive experience in international tax transactions, and a well-established China practice. Recognized as one of Hawaii’s leading citizens and known for his commitment to restorative justice and the improvement of conditions and opportunities for all in the shared Hawaiian community, Roger also sits on the boards of numerous local and international companies and foundations, including The Joseph Campbell Foundation and Enterprise Honolulu, the O’ahu Economic Development Board.
Herb Lee, Jr., Executive Director of the Pacific American Foundation, is a Native Hawaiian who has received wide recognition within Hawaii for his involvement with organizations that protect and preserve environment resources, culture and the arts, as well as for his leading multiple and highly successful education and culture-based curriculum projects, such as the award-winning “Kāhea Loko and Aloha ‘Āina” projects. His programs have trained over 2,500 teachers and benefited over 50,000 students (grades K through 12) across the State in both rural and urban settings. Under his leadership, the PAF has been recognized as one of the leading non-profits in the development of culture-based education programs for both Native Hawaiians and non-Hawaiian students in Hawaii’s public schools.
Gabriella Morizio, a Senior Vice President and counsel at a large alternative asset manager, widely recognized as one of the leading, highly diversified global asset investment management firms in the world, is responsible primarily for conflicts management. Her prior positions include Associate General Counsel of Bank of America, where she was responsible for global structured products, and Director and Counsel of Credit Suisse (formerly Credit Suisse First Boston) where she was responsible for investment banking and capital markets. Gabriella began her career at Mayer Brown & Platt in New York where she specialized in leverage finance and structured finance transactions.
Christopher Chen, Senior Corporate Counsel with one of the largest global mutual fund companies in the world, supports its fixed income and equity divisions, including their related funds. Previously, he was Senior Counsel with The Capital Group Companies where he was general counsel and responsible for all legal aspects of investments for three global private equity funds. His focus at CGC was primarily on Asian transactions (China, India, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan) but also included transactions in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. In addition to private equity, he has derivatives and general investment management and investment advisor experience. He began his career at Mayer Brown & Platt in Los Angeles, where he was a transactional oriented attorney with a broad range of experience.
Bertram Michel, Managing Director at M/Cap Advisors, leads the investment banking division of Stonnington Group. He has over 20 years of experience in investment banking and corporate finance in the US and Europe. Prior to focusing on middle-market companies from his west coast base of operations, he was a Director in the Investment Banking & Global Markets Division at Merrill Lynch in New York where he worked for 11 years in various departments, including the Global Telecom Group and the Global Leveraged Finance Group, on M&A, LBOs and debt and equity securities offerings. He has executed transactions for corporations in a wide range of industries, including media, telecom, technology, retail, textile/apparel, general industrial, consumer products, power and energy, steel, financial services, and gaming in North and South America, Europe and Australasia. He is a frequent guest lecturer at the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California and is a member of the Los Angeles Committee on Foreign Relations.
Nils Rosenquest, Principal at Rosenquest & Associates, has over 30 years of experience in general civil practice with particular emphasis on real estate and business law. His extensive experience includes real estate acquisition and development, creditor work-outs, land use and zoning, affordable housing, rent control, commercial and residential leasing, housing torts, landlord–tenant, business organizations, property management, construction, insurance defense and coverage, and trans-national disputes. He frequently represents real estate and property management companies, non-profit housing institutions and financial institutions. He serves as a pro tem judge for the San Francisco Superior Court and a mediation panelist for the San Francisco Bar Association Early Settlement Program. Nils also is actively involved in the Bay Area community and sits on the Board of Directors for the Chinatown Community Development Center.
John Morton, Ph.D., Senior Urban Environmental Specialist with the Latin America and the Caribbean Region for The World Bank, is based in Washington, D.C. His work focuses on providing advisory services and project finance for countries, cities and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean covering issues ranging from water, tourism, environment and social development. Prior to his current position, John worked in the East Asia and Pacific Region in The World Bank on environmental compliance of infrastructure projects and the development of grant, loan and carbon finance funding mechanisms to communities, private companies and local governments. Earlier in his career, he was a Physical Scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In addition, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Chulalongkorn University concentrating on Industrial Environmental Policy.
About AKAMAI Capital: AKAMAI Capital, LLC is a subsidiary of The AKAMAI Foundation and was created exclusively to support the mission of the Foundation and further community economic development and training for socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals, businesses and communities across the State of Hawaii. The Foundation supports The AKAMAI Finance Academy and AKAMAI Prep, educational programs offered at the university and high school levels throughout the State, respectively, which, in turn, provide a curriculum fully articulated with the University of Hawaii for college credit. AKAMAI Capital is the investment arm of the Foundation and uses the tools of investment, trading, asset management, merchant banking and venture capital & private equity to provide employment and real-world work experience to select graduates from AKAMAI’s educational programs who are given the opportunity of working with and under the supervision of industry professionals while simultaneously providing technical assistance and investment capital to companies and business people operating within its targeted areas.