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Team

Executive Leadership


Yehuda Shmidman

CHAIRMAN & CEO


Yehuda Shmidman is a veteran of the brand management industry, having successfully deployed more than USD $3 billion of capital over nearly two decades into acquiring, growing and monetizing global consumer brands.

His experience expanded during his career to multiple consumer segments including fashion, hardgoods, toys, home, wellness, media, celebrity, sports and electronics, with direct leadership over dozens of world famous brands including TOYS“R”US, ANNE KLEIN, MARTHA STEWART and PEANUTS.

Yehuda currently serves as Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of WHP Global, a New York based brand management firm founded in 2019 together with Oaktree Capital and is also now backed by Ares and BlackRock. WHP Global’s brand portfolio generates over USD $7 billion in annual retail sales, and includes JOE’S JEANS, ANNE KLEIN, BONOBOS, JOSEPH ABBOUD, EXPRESS, ISAAC MIZRAHI, G-STAR RAW, LOTTO, TOYS“R”US and BABIES“R”US. WHP Global is also parent to WHP+, a turnkey e-commerce platform, and WHP SOLUTIONS, a sourcing agency based in Asia.

Yehuda has served on multiple public and private boards, both commercial and nonprofit, and he angel invests from time to time. He currently is a member of the board of directors of Express, Inc. (NYSE: EXPR), an active board member and executive committee member of the Fashion Scholarship Fund, and sits on the board of Wave Hill, a public garden & cultural center in New York.

Over the years, Fortune Magazine and Crain’s New York both included Yehuda in their prestigious “40 Under 40” lists, and multiple universities – including Columbia University, NYU Stern School of Business and Fordham Law School – have featured Yehuda as a guest lecturer to deliver insights into the future of consumer brands and the retail industry.

Yehuda holds a B.A. degree magna cum laude from Yeshiva University in New York.

Effy Zinkin

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER


Effy Zinkin is a founding member of the leadership team at WHP Global and oversees the day-to-day operations of the Company’s brand portfolio. Effy brings over two decades of expertise in C-level roles within the apparel and accessory industries. He began his career at Marc Ecko Enterprises, serving as its President, where he oversaw its expansion to over $1.5 billion in retail sales and successful exit in 2013.

Subsequently, Effy founded Big Brand Builders, a brand and retail advisory business, counting Revlon and licensees to Under Armour and Major League Baseball among its clients. Prior to his current position, he also held the roles of President of Concept One Accessories, and later President at Icon Eyewear.

Effy holds a B.S. degree in Finance from Sy Syms School of Business, Yeshiva University, and a J.D. degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

Stanley Silverstein

CHIEF COMMERCIAL OFFICER


Stanley Silverstein is a 30+ year retail industry leader with unparalleled expertise in licensing, global strategy and brand development.  Stanley currently serves as Chief Commercial Officer of WHP Global, leading brand acquisition and business development for WHP’s portfolio of brands which includes iconic names such as Toys“R”Us, Babies“R”Us, Joseph Abboud, and Anne Klein. Prior to joining WHP, Stanley was President of International Development and Global Licensing for Perry Ellis International. He also served as a longtime senior executive at Warnaco/PVH where he was responsible for the company’s highly successful global expansion of its brands including Calvin Klein.

A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Stanley is a member of the Board of Trustees of The New School in New York City and the Fashion Scholarship Fund, and a member of NYU Stern Fashion & Luxury Council.

Matthew Finigan

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER


Matthew Finigan is a seasoned finance executive with over 20 years of experience in financial strategy, capital markets and risk management. He most recently served as the Chief Financial Officer of Tru Kids Brands since the company’s establishment in 2019. In this role, Matt was instrumental in launching the operations for the Toys“R”Us brand and paving the way to its eventual acquisition by WHP Global. Prior to joining Tru Kids, Matt spent 15 years at Toys“R”Us Inc. in senior financial management roles, most recently as Vice President – Global Treasurer.

He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the NYU Stern School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Gregg Donnenfeld

CHIEF LEGAL OFFICER & GENERAL COUNSEL


Gregg Donnenfeld is Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel of WHP Global, responsible for handling and oversight of all legal matters concerning our brands and businesses. Gregg has nearly 30 years of experience practicing law, both at top law firms and in-house for major global companies. Gregg began his career at Proskauer Rose, where he led the firm’s trademark registration and licensing practices, and later served as General Counsel of multiple global apparel, technology, consumer product, media and other businesses. He specializes in all aspects of corporate, intellectual property, licensing and business law.

Gregg received his undergraduate degree from University of Michigan (highest honors), law school degree from Cornell Law School (magna cum laude) and Executive MBA from NYU Stern School of Business (class valedictorian). He is admitted to practice law in New York, California, New Jersey and Florida.

Scott Book

CHIEF TALENT OFFICER


Scott has over 20 years of experience in the retail and executive recruiting sectors. Prior to joining WHP Global, Scott was President of SBC Group, a leading executive search firm. Before that, Scott was President of The Franklin Mint, the iconic collectibles retailer, where he managed all aspects of the business and ultimately oversaw the successful exit to Sequential Brands Group in 2013. Scott holds a B.A. degree from Albany University.

Russ Banker

MANAGING DIRECTOR, CORPORATE DEVELOPMENT


Russ Banker is a founding member of the WHP Global team. Prior to helping launch WHP Global, he worked at Sequential Brands Group in the Corporate Development group where he worked on a variety of M&A and new business initiatives across its brand portfolio. He began his career at IBM where he most recently worked in the firm’s corporate acquisitions & divestitures group. Russ holds a B.A. in Economics from Middlebury College and M.B.A. from NYU Stern School of Business.

Jaime Cassavechia

HEAD OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS


Jaime Cassavechia is the co-Founder & Principal of NY-based public relations firm EJ Media Group. In her current role, Jaime oversees all external communications, public relations and media strategy for WHP Global and its portfolio of brands.  Capitalizing on 20+ years of PR and corporate communications experience, Jaime specializes in partnering with CEOs, entrepreneurs and talent to architect and execute brand strategies, lead media relations, steer corporate communications and handle crisis situations.

She is highly skilled at driving national media and consumer awareness through carefully crafted communication strategies. As a partner for executives of growth companies, startups, and established consumer brands, Jaime is often relied upon as a strategic advisor to develop macro brand strategies that resonate, engage, and capture a targeted audience.

Board Members


Yehuda Shmidman

Read Bio

Yehuda Shmidman is a veteran of the brand management industry, having successfully deployed more than USD $3 billion of capital over nearly two decades into acquiring, growing and monetizing global consumer brands. His experience expanded during his career to multiple consumer segments including fashion, hardgoods, toys, home, wellness, media, celebrity, sports and electronics, with direct leadership over dozens of world famous brands including TOYS“R”US, ANNE KLEIN, MARTHA STEWART and PEANUTS. Yehuda currently serves as Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of WHP Global, a New York based brand management firm founded in 2019 together with Oaktree Capital and is also now backed by Ares and BlackRock. WHP Global’s brand portfolio generates over USD $7 billion in annual retail sales, and includes JOE’S JEANS, ANNE KLEIN, BONOBOS, JOSEPH ABBOUD, EXPRESS, ISAAC MIZRAHI, LOTTO, TOYS“R”US and BABIES“R”US. WHP Global is also parent to WHP+, a turnkey e-commerce platform, and WHP SOLUTIONS, a sourcing agency based in Asia.

Yehuda has served on multiple public and private boards, both commercial and nonprofit, and he angel invests from time to time. He currently is a member of the board of directors of Express, Inc. (NYSE: EXPR), an active board member and executive committee member of the Fashion Scholarship Fund, and sits on the board of Wave Hill, a public garden & cultural center in New York.

Over the years, Fortune Magazine and Crain’s New York both included Yehuda in their prestigious “40 Under 40” lists, and multiple universities – including Columbia University, NYU Stern School of Business and Fordham Law School – have featured Yehuda as a guest lecturer to deliver insights into the future of consumer brands and the retail industry.

Yehuda holds a B.A. degree magna cum laude from Yeshiva University in New York.

Thomas Casarella

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Thomas Casarella is the Co-Founder of WHP GLOBAL. He is a Managing Director and Assistant Portfolio Manager at Oaktree Capital Management. Prior to joining Oaktree in 2012, he served as Deputy Chief Restructuring Officer at the United States Department of the Treasury. Before that, Mr. Casarella was a member of the Private Equity group at Brookfield Asset Management, following earlier career roles Lazard and Goldman Sachs.
He is a board member of Boardriders, Crossroads Building Supply and Kondaur Capital Management, Techstyle Fashion Group, and WHP Global. Mr. Casarella is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Children’s Bureau. Mr. Casarella holds an A.B. degree summa cum laude from Bowdoin College, an M.A. degree in economics from Oxford University, and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He is also a CFA charterholder.

Christopher Pucillo

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Christopher Pucillo is President, Chief Investment Officer, and Founder of Solus Alternative Asset Management LP. Solus is a multi-billion dollar SEC-registered, independent investment management company overseeing investments on behalf of institutional investors. Mr. Pucillo founded Solus in 2007 after more than a decade of high yield, leveraged loan and distressed investing. Prior to Solus, he served as Head of Hedge Fund Strategies at Stanfield Capital Partners.
Mr. Pucillo began his career at Bankers Trust where he was responsible for the structuring and negotiation of leveraged loans and helped establish the firm’s high yield loan trading business. He went on to serve as Head of High Yield Loan Trading at Morgan Stanley and was instrumental in launching its leveraged loan effort. Mr. Pucillo was one of the four founding members of the Loan Syndications and Trading Association and formerly served as an Executive Committee Member.
Mr. Pucillo is a board member of Bristow Group, Next Wave, and WHP Global. Mr. Pucillo received a BA in Economics from Lafayette College in 1989, and an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1997.

Aaron Rosen

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Mr. Rosen is a Partner and Co-Portfolio Manager of Special Opportunities in the Ares Private Equity Group, where he focuses on investing across the various Ares fund platforms in the public and private markets. Mr. Rosen serves as a member of the Ares Private Equity Group’s Corporate Opportunities and Special Opportunities Investment Committees. He currently serves on the boards of directors of Savers Value Village, Inc., and the parent entities of Integrated Power Services, Panoramic Health, Hornbeck Offshore Services and WHP Global. Prior to joining Ares in 2018, Mr. Rosen was a Partner and Director of Research at Archview Investment Group, where he focused on credit and equity investments in both in the U.S. and internationally. Prior to Archview, Mr. Rosen was a Vice President at Citigroup, where he was a founding member of the Citibank Global Special Situations Group focused on U.S. credit and value equity investment strategies. In addition, Mr. Rosen was a member of Citigroup’s Asset-Based Finance group, where he focused on structuring senior secured debt financings for non-investment grade corporate borrowers. Mr. Rosen holds a B.S., summa cum laude, from New York University’s Stern School of Business in Finance and Information Systems, where he received the Valedictorian Award.

Jordan Smith

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Jordan Smith is a Partner in the Ares Private Equity Group. Prior to joining Ares in 2011, Mr. Smith was an Analyst at Lazard, where he focused on mergers and acquisitions across various industries. Mr. Smith currently serves on the Board of Directors of Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, LaserAway and WHP Global. Previously, Mr. Smith served on the Board of Directors of DevaCurl, Farrow & Ball, Insight Global and Valet Living. Mr. Smith holds a B.S. with high honors from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hank Snoh

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Hank Snoh is a Senior Vice President at Oaktree Capital Management and a board member of WHP Global. Prior to joining Oaktree, he was a member of the Restructuring & Special Situations group at PJT Partners. Mr. Snoh holds an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard College.