JOHN S. CASTLE
John S. Castle is responsible for managing Branford, including all activities of the Branford funds. Mr. Castle is and has been a Board member of various companies owned by Branford, including Carmel Car and Limousine Service, Earthlite Massage Tables, Vitrek, and Titan Production Equipment. Prior to joining Branford in 2002, he was a Director of Business Development at Airwave Wireless (an Idealab! Company, the leading Internet incubator in the early 2000’s). Prior to that, he was an Analyst, M&A at Dillon Read & Co. John S. Castle received an A.B. from Harvard College, where he was a John Harvard Scholar (top annual academic achievement) and Cum Laude graduate. He also started at running back on the Harvard football team. He received an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He has been a Co-Chairman of the Harvard Class of 1995 Fundraising Committee. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Riverdale Country School in New York City and a Trustee of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.
Mr. Castle’s primary responsibilities are deal execution, post-acquisition oversight and fund administration. Mr. Castle is and has been a board member of various companies owned by Branford. Prior to joining Branford in 1996, he was a Regional Director for Santa Fe Steakhouse, a casual themed restaurant chain headquartered in Ohio. Prior to that, he was a Risk Management Specialist with GE Capital/Monogram Bank. David Castle received a B.A. from Skidmore College (Phi Beta Kappa) and a J.D. from the Cornell Law School with a concentration in business law and regulation. David Castle is licensed to practice law in the state of New York. He is a member of the Big Apple Gold Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization. Mr. Castle has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Skidmore College and a member of its Alumni Association Board of Directors, as well as an officer and member of the Board of Trustees of the Caedmon School in New York City.
Mr. Lederer is heavily involved in the sourcing, acquisition and oversight of new and existing investments. He is currently a board member of Earthlite Massage Tables, Vitrek, Fibrix Filtration and Lafayette Instrument, and was previously a board member of Drew Foam until the company was sold to Wynnchurch Capital. Previously, he founded Rubicon Associates, an independent sponsor, where he invested in and took on senior operating roles in small, private companies. Prior to that, he was a Principal at ACG Capital, where he sourced, evaluated, structured, and executed private equity investments in the industrial and business services sectors for a family office. Prior to ACG, he was an investment banking Associate at Morgan Stanley and an Associate at Castle Harlan. Mr. Lederer received a B.A. Cum Laude from Carleton College and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Riverdale Country School in New York City and a former member of the Board of Trustees of the City Parks Foundation. He is also a member of the National Association of Investment Companies (NAIC).
JOHN K. CASTLE
John K. Castle is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Castle Harlan, Inc., a private equity firm which has employed more than 42,000 employees, as well as Branford Castle, Inc., a private merchant bank. During his business career, John has owned or controlled companies such as Delaware Management, the seventh largest independent money manager in the United States; Ethan Allen, the furniture manufacturer and retailer; Ames True Temper, the nation’s leading manufacturer of longhandle tools; restaurant chains such as The Morton’s Steakhouses and Sealed Air Corporation which makes the ubiquitous plastic bubble packaging material. John is a Life Member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
Prior to forming Castle Harlan in 1986 and Branford Castle Inc., he was President and Chief Executive Officer of Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette, Inc., one of Wall Street’s largest investment banks. He also served as a director of the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the U.S.
Starting in 1969, as Chairman of DLJ’s Merchant Banking and Sprout Group, Castle was one of the founders of the institutionalization of the private equity business utilizing limited partnerships as a vehicle for pension funds and other large capital sources to invest.
John has also committed a substantial portion of his time to public service over the past forty years. He has been elected a life member trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has served as a Director of the MIT Investment Management Company. He has also served for twenty-two years as a Trustee of New York Medical College, including eleven of those years as Chairman of the Board. He is also a Life Member of The New York Presbyterian Hospital Board of Trustees; an advisory director of the DuPont Corporation Investment Management Co. He is also a trustee and chairman of the Executive Committee of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and is a member of the Finance Council and various other entities associated with the Archdiocese of New York. Previously he was Chairman of the Columbia-Presbyterian Health Sciences Advisory Council and has served as a member of various Harvard University Visiting Committees including the Harvard Business School. Further in the medical field, he has published various titles related to family health including America’s Top Doctors and New York’s Top Doctors.
In his recreational time, John is an adventurer. Since 1993, he has landed in a small plane on the North Pole as well as the South Pole, trekked to the base of Mount Everest in Nepal and has led his Hinckley sailboat on a circumnavigation of the Earth, leaving from Palm Beach, Florida in April 1993, going through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific and Indian Oceans and up the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. On December 16, 1995, the boat completed its trip around the world having crossed the Atlantic and returned once again to its port of origin in Florida.
But his adventuresome spirit continues and in 2006–7, he recreated the entire Lewis and Clark water expedition from St. Louis, MO to the Pacific Ocean (a total of 3,100 miles) in a 15ft dinghy. In 2007-8, he completed the river trip across the United States in his small inflatable going from New York Harbor to St. Louis via the Hudson River, Erie Canal, Allegheny, Ohio and Mississippi Rivers (a total of 5,000 miles).
John received his bachelors degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, his MBA as a Baker Scholar with High Distinction from Harvard and four Honorary Doctorate degrees.
John’s residence is in Palm Beach, Florida where in 1995 he acquired and refurbished an oceanfront estate that was owned for 62 years by the Kennedy family and was variously known as the Kennedy Compound and JFK’s Winter White House. After 20 years of ownership, he sold the house in May of 2015 for $31.0 million.
Mr. Pittaway is Vice Chairman and a Senior Managing Director of Castle Harlan and has been with Castle Harlan since its founding in 1987. Prior to joining Castle Harlan, Mr. Pittaway was a vice president for strategic planning and assistant to the President of DLJ. Before joining DLJ, he was a management consultant in strategic planning with Bain & Company in Boston, Mass., and previously was an attorney with Morgan, Lewis & Bockius specializing in labor relations. In addition to being on the board of various Branford portfolio companies, he is a board member of The Cheesecake Factory, Caribbean Restaurants, LLC and Shelf Drilling, Inc., and has also served on the boards of numerous other Castle Harlan portfolio companies, including American Achievement Corporation, Statia Terminals Group N.V., Morton’s Restaurant Group, and United Malt Holdings Inc. Mr. Pittaway’s community interests include being a director of the Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa Research of America. In addition, he served for twenty years in the United States Army Reserve and, upon retiring as a Major, he co-founded and acts as a director of the Armed Forces Reserve Family Assistance Fund, which provides needed support for families of American service members whose breadwinners are serving their country in overseas conflicts. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas (B.A. with Highest Distinction), and has both an M.B.A. with High Distinction (Baker Scholar) and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard University.
Mr. Reddington manages the financial, administrative and accounting operations of a global portfolio of companies. Prior to joining Branford in 2010, he was CFO of Synergy Workplaces, a provider of flexible workplaces. Prior to that, Mr. Reddington was CAO of NY Mortgage Trust, a mortgage REIT listed on the NYSE, where he oversaw all financial accounting, operational accounting and budgeting, SEC reporting and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Mr. Reddington received a B.S. in accounting from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He is a Member of the American Institute of CPAs and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Mr. Francis is responsible for sourcing, evaluating, executing and overseeing new investments. He has been with Branford since 2018 and is currently a board member of Lafayette Instrument and Handi Quilter. Prior to Branford, Mr. Francis began his career in management consulting before transitioning to Macy’s where he was a Director focused on Strategy & Marketing. Mr. Francis received his B.A. in Economics from Wesleyan University and earned an M.B.A. from ESSEC Business School in France. Additionally, he was recognized as one of 2020’s Rising Star Dealmakers by the Global M&A Network and was also selected as one of the winners of the M&A Advisor’s 11th Annual Emerging Leaders Awards.
Mr. Gilja is responsible for sourcing and evaluating new investments. He joined Branford in 2023. Prior to Branford, he worked at Alpine Investors on their sourcing and investing teams, and worked as a management consultant at Price water house Coopers before that. Mr. Gilja graduated from Georgia State University with a BBA in Finance & received a certification from Georgia Institute of Technology in International Finance.
Ms. Yang is involved in the sourcing, acquisition and oversight of new and existing investments. Prior to joining Branford in 2018, Ms. Yang worked as an investment banking analyst in the Global Industrials Group at Barclays, where she focused on mergers and acquisitions as well as equity and debt financing transactions. Ms. Yang graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in Economics and concentrations in Finance, Marketing and Strategic Management.
RICHARD Y. SMITH
Mr. Richard Y. Smith is President of Evergreen Capital Partners Inc., a merchant banking firm that works closely with Branford Castle. Prior to founding Evergreen, Mr. Smith was a Managing Director of Chemical Bank (now JPMorgan Chase & Co.), with shared responsibly for the Corporate Finance and Principal Transactions Groups. Prior to joining Chemical, Mr. Smith was a Senior Vice President of Rothschild Inc.’s Corporate Finance group. Rothschild Inc. is an investment banking, venture capital and money management firm affiliated with the world-wide Rothschild Group. Mr. Smith started his career with Blyth & Co., Inc. as a securities analyst. Mr. Smith received his B.A. degree with Honors from Wesleyan University and his M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (C.F.A.). Mr. Smith has served as Chairman of the Wesleyan Annual Fund and as an officer and director of several other charitable organizations.
Mr. Ben Sebel is a Senior Advisor to Branford Castle and was most recently a Managing Director at CHAMP, having been with the firm since 2005. Immediately prior, Mr. Sebel was a Managing Director at Castle Harlan for seven years, and is experienced in all aspects of private equity investment including deal origination, realizations and fundraising in both the United States and Australia. Immediately prior to joining Castle Harlan, Mr. Sebel worked at Goldman Sachs & Co. in its Capital Markets Group. Previously, Mr. Sebel spent two years as Special Advisor to the Hon. Nick Greiner AC, a former premier of New South Wales, and commenced his career in the Management Consulting Services Group of PricewaterhouseCoopers (Australia), where he also qualified as a Chartered Accountant. Mr. Sebel holds a Bachelor of Commerce (First Class Honours) from the University of New South Wales, a M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Mr. Sebel is currently a Director of Shelf Drilling Limited, ATF Services, and Gerard Lighting Group. Mr. Sebel was formerly on the board of Centric Wealth Limited, a director of Healthcare Australia Holdings Pty Limited, Study Group Pty Limited, United Malt Holdings, Ion Track, Inc., Associated Packaging Technologies, Inc., Equipment Support Services, Inc. and AdobeAir, Inc.
Ms. Camille Peña helps oversee and manage the financial, compliance, administrative and accounting operations of Branford Castle’s global portfolio of companies. She is responsible for direct interaction with accounting personnel in all portfolio companies to enable timely monthly, quarterly and annual financial reporting. She is also the point person for the consolidated financial information as well as an integral part of the annual audit and budget processes. Prior to joining Branford in 2010, she was a Senior Fund Accountant at NCH Capital. Prior to that, Ms. Peña was AVP at Deutsche Bank AG, Americas. Ms. Peña received a B.B.A. degree in Managerial Accounting from Hofstra University.
Ms. Darby Blaker is the Executive Assistant and Office Manager of Branford Castle. She coordinates all corporate events, oversees the day-to-day office operation, and assists with other key company activities. Prior to Branford Castle, she worked in the hospitality industry as a Front Office Manager at properties such as the Conrad Hilton New York and Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson. Darby received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Arizona in Speech Pathology.