CHAIRMAN & CEO
For more than a decade, Yehuda Shmidman has played a lead role in deploying more than $3 billion of institutional capital into acquiring, growing and monetizing global consumer brands including TOYS“R”US, MARTHA STEWART and PEANUTS.
He currently serves as Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO of WHP Global, a leading New York based brand management firm backed by Oaktree Capital. WHP Global’s brand portfolio generates approximately $4 billion in annual retail sales, and includes JOE’S JEANS, ANNE KLEIN, JOSEPH ABBOUD, 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 angel invests from time to time. He currently serves as an active board member and executive committee member of the Fashion Scholarship Fund.
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 is a Managing Director at Oaktree Capital Management. Prior to joining Oaktree, 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.
Hank Sneddon is a 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. Sneddon holds an A.B. in Mathematics from Harvard College.
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.
CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER & GENERAL COUNSEL
Effy Zinkin has over 20 years of experience in various C-level positions in the apparel and accessory industries. Effy began his career at Marc Ecko Enterprises, most recently serving as its President, where he oversaw its expansion to over $1 billion in retail sales and successful exit in 2013.
After this, he was President of Concept One Accessories. Effy then formed Big Brand Builders, a brand and retail advisory business, which included clients such as Revlon and licensees to Under Armour and Major League Baseball. Mr. Zinkin most recently served as President of 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 is a 30+ year retail industry leader with expertise in licensing, global strategy and development. He joins WHP from Perry Ellis International, where he served as President of International Development and Global Licensing. Prior to Perry Ellis, Stanley was 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.
He 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. Stanley is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.
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.
HEAD OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Jaime Cassavechia is the Co-Founder & Principal of NY boutique public relations firm EJ Media Group. Capitalizing on over 18 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. Jaime oversees all communications, public relations and media strategy for WHP Global, the parent company to ANNE KLEIN, JOSEPH ABBOUD and TOYS“R”US.
Jamie Uitdenhowen has more than 20 years of experience as a global business leader managing omnichannel retail businesses. At WHP, Jamie leads the Toys“R”Us brand team and network of global license partners. Having spent more than 18 years at Toys“R”Us, Inc., he has become a respected executive in the toy industry, with a proven track record of leading high-performing teams, identifying and leveraging market trends and building strong relationships.
Jamie has a master’s degree in business administration from Seton Hall University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Temple University.
Kim Miller is a 4-time Emmy Award winner with 20+ years as a transformational media leader and brand storyteller. At WHP, Kim is CMO of Toys“R”Us and President of the newly established Toys“R”Us Studios. Prior to WHP, Kim served as a longtime senior executive at Martha Stewart where she found and engaged diverse audiences through global brand partnerships, nationwide live experiences, and award-winning television – most notably as executive producer of the acclaimed Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.
Throughout her career, Kim has worked with a multitude of well-known brands, A-list celebrities and studios including Paramount, Warner Brothers, PBS and CBS. She is an active member of the woman’s leadership organization, Chief.
Jameel Spencer is an award-winning veteran brand builder, who has played pivotal business roles for Shaquille O’Neal, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Simpson over the last 25 years. At WHP Global, Jameel leads the creative marketing, celebrity talent development, and Diversity & Inclusion efforts across the brand portfolio.
He is the Founder and CEO of the marketing agency Writeful Place. His agency scripts narratives for personalities, brands, and businesses looking to realize unexploited revenue potential.
Tony Assorgi has spent close to 20 years leading sales and merchandising for global brands in the fashion industry. At WHP Global, he manages the network of licensee and retail partners for the ANNE KLEIN and JOSEPH ABBOUD brands.
Prior to WHP, Tony served as the Vice President of Sales at Buffalo Jeans. He began his career at Tommy Hilfiger and has held senior positions at Li & Fung, Global Brands Group, Centric Brands and Marc Ecko Enterprises.
CHIEF TALENT OFFICER
Scott has over 10 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.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, LOTTO
Margaret Kivett has more than 20 years of experience in Licensing/Brand Management and has played a significant role in building and growing global brands with large Licensee portfolios. She spent 15 years managing the Everlast Licensing Program prior to joining WHP. She has a proven track record in identifying strategic opportunities and partnerships, cultivating long term relationships, generating revenue, and managing P&Ls. Margaret leads the Lotto Brands Team and works closely with the Italian based Team where Lotto Footwear and Apparel are designed and developed. Lotto has over 50 licensees in its global program and drives over $400m in Retail Sales. Margaret has a JD from the University of Richmond School of Law and a BA from Denison University.
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.
Ron Breakstone is an innovative eCommerce leader with over two decades of experience scaling high growth digital businesses. Ron joins WHP from GODIVA Chocolatier where he was the Global Head of eCommerce overseeing digital sales for the billion-dollar brand distributed in more than 100 countries.
Prior to GODIVA, he spent 7 years as Vice President of eCommerce at FreshDirect, the leading online grocer with nearly $800 million in sales per annum during his tenure. He is a board member of BWG Strategy and eCom Advisory. Ron has both his undergraduate degree and MBA from The George Washington University.