Leadership

Louis Nguyen

Chairman & CEO

member

Louis Nguyen has over 25 years of investment and operating experience in the United States and Vietnam. He is currently the Chairman and CEO of Saigon Asset Management (SAM). SAM is the investment manager for Vietnam Equity Holding (VEH), a top Vietnam-focused investment fund. Since 2007, VEH has deployed over $250mn in over 45 companies and projects in Vietnam. The  fund has outperformed the Vietnam Index and ETFs and held top positions in 2008, 2009, and 2014. SAM also invests its principal money into private companies in Vietnam and the US, focusing on impact investment specifically in the areas of F&B, education, technology, and healthcare businesses. Prior to founding SAM, Louis was Managing Director at VinaCapital, in charge of the DFJ VinaCapital Technology Fund. Prior to that, he served as Founding General Partner for IDG Ventures Vietnam. Prior to arriving in Vietnam in 2003, he was Vice President at Intelligent Capital, a technology M&A firm based in San Francisco, which completed over $1bn in transactions. Prior to that, Louis was Managing Director at Osprey Ventures, a $100mn technology venture capital fund based in Silicon Valley. He gained operating experience as Division Controller at NEC Computer Systems in Mountain View, California, part of a $5bn joint venture between NEC and Packard Bell. Prior to NEC, Louis held management roles at Apple Computer’s manufacturing factory in Fremont, California as well as Apple’s US Sales and Marketing division in Cupertino, California. Prior to that, he started his career as an auditor at KPMG, Silicon Valley, serving mostly technology and manufacturing clients. Louis currently serves as a board member in various public and private companies in Vietnam and the US. He received a B.S. in Accounting & Finance from San Jose State University, California. Louis is an American citizen and fluent in English and Vietnamese.

Kevin Flaherty

Managing Director, Energy & Natural Resources Investments

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Kevin Flaherty has been active in the SE Asia region for more than 20 years and is a recognized specialist in energy and natural resources. He has an established private equity track record of identifying attractive projects, establishing companies, executing valuation growth and structuring exits.  In his current role as Managing Director – Energy & Natural Resources, he is responsible for direct investments and advisory services in the energy and natural resources sector.

Kevin brings extensive operational experience to his role at SAM. In 1996, he co-founded Tiberon Minerals, a TSE-listed mineral exploration company that discovered Vietnam’s Nui Phao tungsten deposit, during his tenure as an officer & director of the firm. The company was later acquired by an Asian-based investment fund for $270 million and taken private. The Nui Phao deposit is now the world’s largest tungsten producer.  Kevin was also a Founder & Director of Keeper Resources, a TSXV-listed company that held two oil & gas properties in Vietnam and was later acquired by an Asian-based investment fund for $60 million and taken private.

Kevin was a founding shareholder and Director of Sunshine Oilsands, a Hong Kong listed Canadian oil sands company with 5 billion barrels in contingent resources. Established in 2007, the firm went from a start-up to a Hong Kong listing in five years, raising $1.4 billion in the process.

In 2012, Kevin helped structure Canadian Foresight Group Pte. Ltd. (“CFG”), which was established to participate in Myanmar’s inaugural offshore oil & gas bidding round.  CFG was successful in the 2013 bidding round and was awarded offshore Block M15, a 13,500 sq km license, directly adjacent to the producing Yetagun gas field.  In his role as Executive Director, Mr. Flaherty was responsible for the bid submission and subsequent negotiation of the Production Sharing Contract and Joint Operating Agreement. 

Another proprietary investment spearheaded by Mr. Flaherty has been the structuring and establishment of Savitar Exploration Ltd., a private company that has mining exploration projects in Laos and Myanmar.  Savitar has brought together the former technical team from Tiberon Minerals and is charting a similar path.  

As part of SAM Energy’s advisory initiatives Kevin has acted in an advisory capacity for a Chinese iron ore venture in the Philippines, a mid-tier gold producer with projects in Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, and a Chinese solar power company.  Kevin has specific expertise in the valuation and financial modeling of electricity power generation projects; structuring and negotiating mining JV & petroleum production sharing contracts with the various authorities in the region, and is more than familiar with the region’s natural resource laws. In addition, he has led and advised a number of private equity bids for resource projects throughout the Indochina region.

Kevin received both a B.A. in Economics and a MBA in Finance from the University of Calgary.

Markus Winkler

Advisor

Founder & President- VGZ Vermoegensverwaltungs-Gesellschaft Zurich, a Swiss wealth management company

Founder-member & Former Vice President- Swiss Association of Asset Managers and member of its Ethics Committee for 20 years

Founder-member & Board Member- Swiss Investors’ Association for 10 years

Regular lecturer and writer on investment matters

Member of several advisory and supervisory boards of Dublin, Frankfurt / Xetra and London listed funds investing in Asian and Eastern European emerging markets

Graduated in Economics and Banking at the University of St. Gall (HSG); additional studies in Law at the University of Zurich

Desmond Lin

Advisor

Senior Advisor- HD Bank Board of Directors

Vice Chairman- How Yu Construction and Development Group

Independent Board Director- DreamHouse Saigon Investment Group (Listed code: DRH)

Inspection Board Member- Phu My Bridge Investment Company Board

Former Managing Director- Saigon Asset Management, Real Estate Investments

Former Managing Director- GrandFord Venture Capital, an investment fund based in Vietnam and Taiwan

Former CEO- Momentum Information Technology Vietnam, a service provider for core banking and payment systems

Former Deputy General Director at various landmark projects and joint ventures in Vietnam including the Legend Hotel, Saigon Riverside Office Building, Hai Thanh Kotobuki, FeiYei and Dat Viet

Senior management positions at Hallyard Resort, Peito and WuLai Taiwan, and How Yu Construction Corporation

Over 17 years of on-the-ground experience in Vietnam

MBA, University of Southern California

BS in Finance, University of Oregon

Fluent in English, Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese

Mark Pedretti

Advisor

Chairman of the Private Equity Group and Deputy Managing Partner- Reed Smith, New York 

Represents private equity funds, venture capital funds, sovereign wealth funds, international funds, asset managers, credit funds, hedge funds, investment banks, family offices, financiers (and their portfolio companies) in various types of complex domestic and cross border investment and financing transactions

Areas of practice are private equity, mergers and acquisitions, securities and capital markets with a focus on public and private mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, recapitalizations, joint ventures and management buyouts, particularly in the financial services, technology, media and telecommunications, real estate and hospitality, life sciences and healthcare, manufacturing and industrials, consumer and retail, apparel, restaurant and entertainment industries 

Extensive debt and equity capital markets experience, representing both issuers and investors in public offerings and private placements

Author of numerous articles on securities law and mergers and acquisitions

Dr. Lee G. Lam

VEH Chairman, Independent Non-Executive Director

Non-executive Chairman – ASEAN Region and Chief Adviser to Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Asia

Former Chairman – Hong Kong, Indochina, Myanmar and Thailand, and Senior Adviser – Asia, Macquarie Capital
Former Managing Director, COO and Vice Chairman – Investment Banking Division, Bank of China International Holdings
Former President and CEO, Vice Chairman, Chia Tai Enterprises International Ltd. (CP Group)
Former Executive Director – Telemedia, Singapore Technologies Telemedia (Temasek Holdings)
• MSc in systems science and MBA from the University of Ottawa in Canada; LLM in law from the University of Wolverhampton in the UK; MPA and PhD from the University of Hong Kong
Founding Board member and the Honorary Treasurer of Hong Kong-Vietnam Chamber of Commerce
Board member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macau
President of Hong Kong-ASEAN Economic Cooperation Foundation

Fluent in English, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese and Chiu Chow) and Vietnamese

Howard Golden

VEH Independent Non-Executive Director

Chairman- The Worldwide Opportunity Fund (WWOF)

Partner- Terra Partners Group, an investment management company with $135 million AUM

Chairman- Romanian Investment Fund and Reconstruction Capital II

Former Chairman- Kazakhstan Investment Fund

Former Chairman of the Supervisory Board- Slovak RIF, the largest Slovak closed-end fund, the Slovak Restitution Investment Fund

Former Board Member- Beta Vietnam Fund and Framlington Bulgaria Fund

Lectured on closed-end funds in London and Prague and at various business schools (Harvard University, University of Chicago)

Quoted as an expert in capital markets and corporate governance in The Economist, The Financial Times, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Newsweek, Prague Business Journal, and Business Central Europe

Practiced law in Chicago, New York and Israel

BA, JD, and MBA from University of Wisconsin

Fluent in English and Hebrew; knowledgeable in Czech

Kathryn Vagneur

VEH Independent Non-Executive Director

Director- Durant, a private investment fund

Director & Chairman, Audit & Risk Committee- The Foresters Friendly Society, a British mutual insurance company

Finance & Performance Committee- The Royal United Services Institute, the defense and security think-tank

Former Chief Operating Officer- Tribune Capital Partners, investment management of a media sector focused venture fund

Former Director- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in London, consulted to the financial services sector, developed investment banking strategies, evaluated acquisitions including deal structure, forensic due diligence and restructuring strategies. Contributor to the redesign of PwC’s audit methodology used globally

Founder- Vagneur & Firth, Certified Public Accountants, Colorado

Developed courses in strategy implementation and management control, corporate governance and internal governance at London Business School and Edinburgh Business School

Built a financial decision model for the US Department of Justice while at Carnegie-Mellon University

PhD in Management, London Business School

Matthew White

Managing Director

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Prior to joining SAM Advisory Mr. White was the director of corporate finance at Acorn Consulting since 2012 where, in 2014, he completed the $15 million financing of California Fitness & Yoga by Mizuho Asian Partners, the PE Company of Mizuho Bank. In addition he was the CF advisor on a number of deals in Asia including: Thunderbird Resorts; Manna Resorts; Bai Tram Estates and US based Claremont Group. He is currently the CF advisor on a number of other transactions expected to close in 2015.
From 2008-2012 Mr. White was a consultant for various IR projects in SE Asia including: Van Don Island, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam; Penghu Islands, Taiwan; and, Vina Capital’s Hoi An, Vietnam IR project.
From 2006 to 2008, Mr. White was the director of gaming and leisure for Tano Capital, LLC a San Mateo, California based private equity firm. At Tano Matthew oversaw the approval process of a $4.3 billion dollar casino/hotel project in central Vietnam; acquired the exclusive gaming rights to a $100 million hotel/casino project in Palawan, Philippines and advised on a casino project in Poland.
From 2003-2006 Matthew was a partner and director of business development for JDC Group a company focused on financing and managing tribal casinos in the US (owned by the Hong Kong/San Francisco based Lui family [Kwah Group and Galaxy Entertainment]). He also advised on the EuroVegas project in Hungary, completed a casino project in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and several Tribal equipment leasing and financing deals for a Las Vegas Based casino management group.
In the decade prior to 2003 Mr. White was a partner in a proprietary trading firm (listed equities) and a managing director/founder for Stanford Capital Partners a boutique investment banking firm based in San Francisco, CA.
Mr. White has a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University in Economics and International Business with a concentration in Asian studies.

Thomas Jakobsen

Managing Director - Renewable Energy

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Mr. Thomas Jakobsen has over 10 years of experience in Indochina, focused on renewable energy. He brings a strong and well-established track record in clean development including projects in energy efficiency, solar and wind energy, biofuel, environmental surveying, and infrastructure

Mr. Jakobsen co-founded Gate to Asia Trading and Consulting Company in 2007 performing investment consulting services for Renewable Energy and Environmental projects in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Additionally, activities have included finding suitable technology suppliers for Renewable Energy and Environmental projects and conducting ESG assessments of projects in Vietnam for foreign investors.

From 2009 to 2013, Mr. Jakobsen was Investment Director at Anpha Capital, originating and analyzing potential investments in Renewable Energy, Real Estate and Infrastructure projects; advising the potential investment companies/projects on Financial Structuring and Corporate Finance and performing due diligence on potential investments. Prior to that, he held General Management and Financial Management positions in industrial companies in Europe and Asia.

In Apr 2009, Mr. Jakobsen acquired control of CSR Vietnam Co. Ltd., a Vietnamese company specialized in environmental assessment of foreign investment (particularly Danish), to ensure compliance to the highest of local, Danish and IFC performance standards.

He holds M.Sc. in Economics and Business Administration from University of Aarhus in Denmark, including six months at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium from 1990 to 1995.

Louis Nguyen

VEH Executive Director

Former Managing Director - VinaCapital, Vietnam. Fund management company with over $1.5 billion AUM


Founding General Partner - IDG Ventures Vietnam. Technology venture capital firm with over $200m AUM


Former VP – Intelligent Capital, San Francisco, US. Technology M&A with over $1B in transactions closed


Former Managing Director – Osprey Ventures, Silicon Valley technology venture capital firm with $100m AUM


Held management positions in audit, finance and operations at NEC, Apple Computers, and KPMG


Member of the Board of Directors of various listed and private companies in Vietnam and the US