The descent of General Motors Corp. into bankruptcy has created a significant opportunity for advisory firm AlixPartners LLP, a Detroit stalwart that has been given a key task in the government's plan to revitalize the troubled automaker.
Alix managing director Al Koch was named chief restructuring officer as GM drove into Chapter 11 on June 1. Koch reports directly to the company's board of directors and CEO, Fritz Henderson. In that role Koch, along with fellow Alix managing directors Edward J. Stenger Jr., Stefano Aversa and John Hoffecker, will oversee the dismantling of up to 20 GM factories and a handful of brands that are not set to be part of the "new GM" that the government hopes to quickly remove from bankruptcy.
The fix-it man role is a familiar one for Koch, 67, who in years past has served as interim CFO of Kmart Holding Corp. and CEO of Handleman Co., a music and video distribution company in Troy, Mich., while those companies were in bankruptcy. Kmart emerged from bankruptcy in 2003 and Handleman filed a liquidation plan last year. Koch was also chairman of manufactured homebuilder Champion Enterprises Inc. as that company went through an out-of-court restructuring.The assignment continues a long relationship between Alix and the auto industry. Founder Jay Alix, who is no longer active with the firm, was hired in 1984 by creditors of DeLorean Motor Co. to help recover hidden assets. The firm was first retained by General Motors in 1993 to help restructure the automaker's National Car Rental subsidiary, which AlixPartners claims was the first time GM had engaged an outside adviser.
Alix returned to GM in 1999 to help its GMAC Mortgage Corp. unit on technology projects. In 2006 AlixPartners was brought in to assist with the automaker's accounting and financial reporting after a spate of accounting errors caused GM to revamp its corporate controller's office.
AlixPartners is not the only familiar face in GM's restructuring. The company's bankruptcy counsel is Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, a firm the automaker has turned to since at least the early 1990s, when Weil legend Ira Millstein advised GM directors. Weil attorneys also provided advice to GM in 2006, when it sold a majority stake in its GMAC financing unit, and have represented GM in the bankruptcy of the automaker's former parts subsidiary Delphi Corp.
Weil's GM bankruptcy team is led by Harvey Miller, who is also debtor counsel to Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., along with Stephen Karotkin and Joseph Smolinsky. Joining Alix in advising GM is a group that includes Arthur Newman of Blackstone Group LP; Dan Ammann, Jonathan Pruzan and Will Dotson of Morgan Stanley; and an Evercore Partners Inc. team including William Repko, Roger C. Altman, William Hiltz, J. Stephen Worth and Stephen Sieh.
Martin Bienenstock of Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP has provided additional restructuring counsel to GM, along with Joseph R. Sgroi, Tricia A. Sherick and Robert B. Weiss of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP. Robert D. Joffe and Philip A. Gelston of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP are counsel to the automaker's board.
Representing the U.S. Treasury's automotive task force is John Rapisardi of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, while an ad hoc committee of bondholders that held talks with GM and the task force in the weeks leading to the filing were represented by Andrew Rosenberg at Paul, Weiss, Wharton, Rifkind & Garrison LLP and Eric Siegert of Houlihan, Lokey, Howard & Zukin Inc.
Shearman & Sterling LLP's bankruptcy and reorganization group, which is led by Douglas Bartner, is representing unnamed GM creditors and suppliers. A Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP team including partners Richard Lincer, David Gottlieb, A. Richard "Brick" Susko, James Bromley, Yaron Reich, Jason Factor, Mark Nelson and James Modrall are representing the United Auto Workers union on all matters relating to the restructuring.
GM's national dealer council in April retained Roger Frankel and Richard H. Wyron of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP to guide that group through GM's reorganization. David M. Feldman and Matthew J. Williams of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP are counsel to creditor Wilmington Trust Corp.
White & Case LLP bankruptcy partner Thomas Lauria, who represented holdout lenders in the Chrysler LLC reorganization, represents dissident GM bondholders. Also retaining counsel is Ford Motor Co., which is working with Marshall Huebner of Davis Polk & Wardwell, and partsmaker Magna International Inc., which has tapped Dickinson Wright PLLC's Dawn Copley and Michael C. Hammer.
The General Motors National Retiree Association is represented by Stahl Cowen Crowley Addis LLC attorneys Jon D. Cohen and Trent P. Cornell. Dean
Gloster of Farella Braun & Martel LLP is representing the General Motors Retirees Association, a group of non-union, salaried retirees.