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Senior Management & Board of Directors

Senior Management
Christian M. Zugel

Chief Investment Officer and Chairman of the Board

Mr. Zugel founded ZAIS in 1997 and now serves as Managing Member and Chief Investment Officer. Prior to founding ZAIS, Mr. Zugel was a senior executive with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., where he led J.P. Morgan’s entry into many new trading initiatives. At J.P. Morgan, Mr. Zugel also served on the Asia Pacific management-wide and firm-wide market risk committees. Mr. Zugel received a Masters in Economics from the University of Mannheim, Germany. Mr. Zugel is well qualified to serve as a director due to his institutional knowledge with respect to ZAIS and his significant experience in the investment management industry both as a senior executive with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and as the founder of ZAIS.

Daniel Curry

Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Mr. Curry serves as the President of ZAIS and is a member of ZAIS's Management Advisory Committee. Mr. Curry also serves as President and Chief Executive Officer and is a director of ZAIS Group Holdings, Inc. Prior to joining ZAIS, Mr. Curry served as the Chief Executive Officer of DBRS Limited and DBRS, Inc. from December 2013 to August 2016. Mr. Curry served as Global President of DBRS from May 2012 to December 2013 and held the role of President of DBRS, Inc. beginning in December 2008 when he joined DBRS. Prior to joining DBRS, Mr. Curry was a Group Managing Director at Moody’s, where he co-managed the corporate finance group for the Americas, overseeing the ratings and research on over 2,500 non-financial companies, spanning both investment-grade and high-yield areas. At Moody’s, Mr. Curry also managed the Structured Finance rating groups for Europe and Asia. Mr. Curry holds an MBA from Columbia University Graduate Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University.

Nisha Motani

Chief Financial Officer

 

Ms. Nisha Motani serves as Chief Financial Officer ("CFO") and Chief Accounting Officer at ZAIS and is a member of
ZAIS’s Management Advisory, Commitments, and Conflicts and Cross Trades committees and serves as co-chair of the Valuation Committee.  Ms. Motani brings over 20 years of financial and accounting experience to her role.  Prior to joining ZAIS in October 2003, Ms. Motani served as a Senior Manager in the Financial Services audit practice of Deloitte & Touche where she specialized in Investment Management.  Ms. Motani is a Certified Public Accountant with a B.S. in Accounting from Rutgers School of Business.

 

 

Mark Russo

General Counsel and Managing Director

Mr. Russo serves as General Counsel and a Managing Director at ZAIS and is also a member of ZAIS’s Management Advisory Committee.  Before joining ZAIS in February of 2007, Mr. Russo was an attorney at Thacher Proffitt & Wood LLP in the Structured Finance Practice Group from 2004 to 2007.  He received a B.S. with distinction from The Pennsylvania State University and a J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law.Mr. Russo was appointed General Counsel on March 31, 2017 upon Howard Steinberg’s departure. Mr. Russo previously served as Assistant General Counsel at ZAIS.

Denise Crowley

Head of Securitized Credit and Head of Business Development and Client Relations

Ms. Crowley serves as Head of Securitized Credit and Head of Business Development and Client Relations at ZAIS. As Head of ZAIS’s Securitized Credit Business, Ms. Crowley is responsible for mortgage investments, including Non-Agency RMBS, CMBS, Commercial Real Estate debt and equity, ABS investments and CLO investments across our separately managed accounts and co-mingled funds. She is also a member of ZAIS’s Management Advisory Committee. Since joining ZAIS, Ms. Crowley has been actively involved in the MBS, CLO and CDO security markets since 1999. Previously, Ms. Crowley managed a HY credit fund for ZAIS. Before joining ZAIS in August of 1997, Ms. Crowley worked at J.P. Morgan in the High Yield Trading Group. Before J.P. Morgan, she worked for Hon. Daniel P. Moynihan as an economic research analyst. Ms. Crowley received a B.A. from Boston College and an M.B.A. from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Board of Directors
Christian M. Zugel

Mr. Zugel founded ZAIS in 1997 and now serves as Managing Member and Chief Investment Officer. Prior to founding ZAIS, Mr. Zugel was a senior executive with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., where he led J.P. Morgan’s entry into many new trading initiatives. At J.P. Morgan, Mr. Zugel also served on the Asia Pacific management-wide and firm-wide market risk committees. Mr. Zugel received a Masters in Economics from the University of Mannheim, Germany. Mr. Zugel is well qualified to serve as a director due to his institutional knowledge with respect to ZAIS and his significant experience in the investment management industry both as a senior executive with J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. and as the founder of ZAIS.

Daniel Curry

Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Mr. Curry serves as the President of ZAIS and is a member of ZAIS's Management Advisory Committee. Mr. Curry also serves as President and Chief Executive Officer and is a director of ZAIS Group Holdings, Inc. Prior to joining ZAIS, Mr. Curry served as the Chief Executive Officer of DBRS Limited and DBRS, Inc. from December 2013 to August 2016. Mr. Curry served as Global President of DBRS from May 2012 to December 2013 and held the role of President of DBRS, Inc. beginning in December 2008 when he joined DBRS. Prior to joining DBRS, Mr. Curry was a Group Managing Director at Moody’s, where he co-managed the corporate finance group for the Americas, overseeing the ratings and research on over 2,500 non-financial companies, spanning both investment-grade and high-yield areas. At Moody’s, Mr. Curry also managed the Structured Finance rating groups for Europe and Asia. Mr. Curry holds an MBA from Columbia University Graduate Business School and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University.

Paul B. Guenther

Since 2002, Mr. Guenther has served as a member of the Board of Directors of The Guardian Life Insurance Company, where he has chaired the audit, investment and human resources and governance committees. Mr. Guenther has also served as chairman of Community and Southern Bank Holding Co. and as chairman of First National Bank of New York, which merged into Bridgehampton National Bank in 2014. From August 2007 to November 2010, Mr. Guenther served as a member of the board of directors of Liberty Acquisition Holdings Corp., a publicly traded blank check company that completed its business combination in November 2010. Mr. Guenther was the President of PaineWebber Group, Inc. from January 1994 to April 1995. Mr. Guenther began working at Paine Webber Incorporated in 1966 and served as its President from December 1988 until January 1994. Mr. Guenther also served as Chairman of the New York Philharmonic from September 1996 until 2009, after which he became Chairman Emeritus, and is a member of the Board of Directors of RS Investments. Mr. Guenther serves on several philanthropic boards and is a member of several charitable organizations. Mr. Guenther received his M.B.A. from Columbia Graduate School of Business and his B.S. in economics from Fordham University and is a CFA charterholder. Mr. Guenther is well qualified to serve as a director due to his experience in public and private company governance and his financial experience and knowledge.

James M. Zinn

Mr. Zinn previously served on the board of directors of ZAIS Financial Corp., including as chair of the audit committee since 2013. Since 2012, Mr. Zinn has been a director of dwinQ, Inc, a company that offers an online social media platform. Since 2010, Mr. Zinn has served as a Director and formerly the Treasurer of a homeowners association representing over 5,000 residents. From 2008 through 2012, he also maintained an on-call consultant role with ODIN Technologies, Inc., a radio-frequency identification engineering firm, which he helped organize in 2003. From 2003 to 2009, Mr. Zinn served as a director of Vmeals, LLC, an online food sales organization. During 2008, Mr. Zinn also served on the valuation committee of XE Capital Management, LLC, a hedge fund based in New York City. From 1999 to 2006, Mr. Zinn co-founded and served as Chief Financial Officer (until 2002) and a Director of ServerVault, Inc., a secure web-hosting company. From 1994 to 1999, Mr. Zinn served as the Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of CapitalOne Financial Corporation, where he was responsible for all financial management and related communications. Prior to that, from 1977 to 1994, Mr. Zinn served in various capacities from staff accountant to Regional Partner for Ernst & Young, LLP, providing accounting and consultation advice on technical accounting matters to financial services clients. Mr. Zinn received a B.S. in Business Administration from The Ohio State University in 1975. Mr. Zinn was selected to serve on our board of directors due to his accounting expertise and industry experience.

John Burke

Mr. Burke joined our board of directors in April 2016. He has been a professor of finance at Monmouth University since 1999. Mr. Burke founded Rumson Capital, LLC, a hedge fund engaged in quantitative arbitrage based strategies, and served as its Managing Partner from 1993 until 2008. Prior to founding Rumson Capital, Mr. Burke was a Director at Deutsche Bank, AG from 1991 to 1993, where he served as Co-Head of the Global Structured Products Group and managed the global derivative products group. From 1983 to 1993, Mr. Burke served in several capacities at PaineWebber, Inc., including as Managing Director of the Global Equity Derivative Group. Mr. Burke received his M.B.A. with honors from Indiana University with a specialization in finance and his B.A. in business and economics from State University of New York, College at Brockport.

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