“Our strategy is first off to make the bank a national, then a regional champion,” Collins said, adding that all the investors are united in the belief in its success.
He touted the success of the group in Egypt, where the Commercial International Bank grew into the largest traded company on the national bourse, twice the size of its largest competitor after Ripplewood arrived and founded Egypt’s current “national champion bank” in 2005.
Collins added that the decision to invest in Citadele symbolized the company’s belief in Latvia’s future.
“We’re very enthusiastic about this investment, this bank and its management, this nation and region and the opportunity to play even a small role in its economic growth,” he said.
The twelve investors comprising the purchasing group now in control of the 75% share formerly owned by the Latvian state include:
Former US Federal Reserve Chairman and anti-inflation warrior (under Presidents Carter and Reagan) Paul Volcker;
Graham Allison, National security analyst from the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government;
Jim Balsillie, chairman of the Board of Directors of Sustainable Development Technology Canada, start-up support group Communitech and a former executive at Research in Motion, the makers of Blackberry smartphones;
Gerald Cramer, a Syracuse University philanthropist and founder of equity management group Cramer Rosenthal McGlynn;
Matthew O. Diggs, formerly of air-conditioning equipment manufacturer Copeland and now of McClintock Industries, an equity group affiliated to Ripplewood;
Edmond M. Safra, manager of EMS Capital, a New York City-based hedge fund;
Egyptian billionaire developer Nassef Sawiris of the firm Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), who has also been heralding large-scale investment projects in his home country;
Stanley S. Shuman, managing director of publicity-shy boutique investment bank Allen & Co. with broad experience in the public and commercial media industries and a close advisor to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg;
James E. Staley, who quit JPMorgan Chase to join hedge fund Blue Mountain Capital Management in 2013;
Baupost Group, said to be the 11th largest hedge fund in the world, run by Seth Klarman;
Private equity emerging-markets specialty firm Wolfensohn Fund Management founder and chairman James D. Wolfensohn;
Dhananjaya Jay Dvivedi, a former COO of Paypal and former Chief Information Officer of Japan’s Shinsei Bank, another Ripplewood acquisition touted for its successful restructuring from which the executive resigned in 2010 rather than comply with new laws forcing public disclosure of his pay in Japan.