CEO & Chairman, Solon Group, Inc., Advisory Board Member, The Biltmore Company, Independent Director Representative, Richcourt Funds
Deborah Hicks Midanek is an experienced director, and her knowledge of operations, finance, and strategy has served 15 corporate and 5 nonprofit boards since 1990. At Solon Group, where she serves as Chairman and CEO, Deborah works with companies on growth strategy and handling rapid change. For example, she has served as Business Advisor to a Federal District Court and later a Receiver in a complex and highly sensitive cross border fraud situation; has helped a pharmaceuticals manufacturer manage a drastic revenue decline caused by a patent loss; has played numerous roles in the recent financial services company difficulties, has developed multiple successful investment funds, registered and unregistered funds; served as the de facto board of directors when the board of the GP of a Master Limited Partnership resigned and no one was available to right the ship and rebuild the board. Not content to sit and watch, she wants to resolve the issues at hand so all can move on. Previously, as President of Glass & Associates, Deborah guided the firm to double revenue and triple margin in two years. She started and ran the New York office of this provider of interim management services to manufacturing and distribution companies, opened new offices in the U.S. and Europe, rebuilt the brand, and positioned the firm for a successful sale in 2005. In addition, she led teams for diverse companies including Parmalat USA, Mississippi Chemical, and FINOVA. Earlier, she served as interim CEO of United Companies Financial Corporation and Standard Brands Paint. Deborah has served as director, lead director or chairman as well as committee chair (audit, compensation, governance, special independent) for public and private companies including HCC Insurance Holdings, Signature Group Holdings, MB Holdings, Phosphates Holdings, Inc., Rodman & Renshaw Group, Inc., and Tricapital, Ltd., among others. She is a member of the executive committee for the Committee for Economic Development, is on the advisory board of family owned Biltmore Companies and is Solonâs representative as sole director of various BVI-based investment funds. Deborah chaired the board of Standard Brands Paint and American Homestar, and The Solon Funds, registered under the Investment Company Act of 1940. She also served as de facto lead director for Drexel Burnham, deemed an inadvertent investment company, during its bankruptcy, where she organized the shareholders to achieve recognition in the bankruptcy and restructured the incumbent board to favor independent directors. She joined Drexel Burnham to start its derivatives function, which grew to $50 billion in contracts; she then formed and led the firmâs structured products group. She is a 2011 NACD Board Leadership Fellow, the first year such designations were available. Her Wall Street background combined with her experience running her own institutional investment management firm, Solon Asset Management Corporation, gives her both depth and breadth of knowledge of capital markets and the innovations of the last few decades, where she has had a front row seat. Her firm, founded in 1990 with $75,000 in personal savings, quickly became a highly regarded institutional investment management firm due to the firmâs reputation for detailed knowledge of complex instruments and how to use them to reduce rather than amplify risk. The firm, which attracted Fortune 50 pension funds, large endowments and foundations as clients and won national recognition for its work with troubled derivatives portfolios, was sold in 1997. Deborah also built a no load mutual fund complex from $100 million to $1 billion in assets in 11 months, then the fastest growth recorded by Lipper. Deborah earned her MBA from the Wharton School and an AB from Bryn Mawr College. A frequent writer and speaker on governance, strategy, and leadership, Deborah also manages Prevail Investments LLC and Prevail Fund, Inc., all part of Prevail Companies.