Lantern beefs up management team

The asset management unit – formed in September in the wake of Centerbridge’s acquisition of GMAC’s resort finance business – taps Mitchell of Ally Financial to help lead the firm, adds five other senior execs

Lantern Asset Management, a Dallas-based firm that oversees and acquires financial and operating assets related to timeshare resorts and commercial real estate, has announced the appointment of several key hires, including the appointment of Andy Mitchell, the former managing director and head of the global special assets group at Ally Financial.

Lantern is a new asset management company formed in September 2010 by Centerbridge Capital Partners when the investment firm acquired Resort Finance America (RFA), the resort finance business of GMAC Commercial Finance, a subsidiary of Ally. RFA primarily consists of a $1 billion portfolio of loans related to timeshare resorts throughout North America, which now is managed by Lantern.

Mitchell joins Lantern as president and will serve as chief risk officer of RFA. He will lead the firm with William Phillips, who is senior managing director and head of resort operations for Lantern and president of RFA.

During his tenure at Ally, Mitchell led the global special assets group as chief risk officer and president of the business capital group, which included management of commercial real estate portfolios with assets in the US, Canada, Mexico and the UK. He also formerly served as an officer with Cerberus Capital Management.

Joining Mitchell and Phillips at Lantern are five other senior-level hires with experience in real estate workouts, debt restructuring and turnaround situations. They are Chris Halpin, Clifton Dugas II, Joseph Glica, Robert Rahr and Thomas McInerney, Jr.

Halpin assumes the posts of Lantern's chief accounting officer and chief financial officer of RFA. He formerly was the controller at Highland Capital Management, a Dallas-based global alternatives fixed-income manager offering private equity funds, separate accounts, hedge funds and mutual funds.

Dugas, who previously was a partner at the law firm of K&L Gates, has been appointed managing director and chief legal officer. At K&L Gates, he represented lenders and loan servicers in connection with loan workouts and distressed real estate debt.

Glica, formerly with GMAC, joins Lantern as managing director and senior workout officer. He has more than 30 years of experience in all facets of real estate loan workouts and project management.

Rahr and McInerney, both of whom have extensive distressed investment experience working at Ally's special assets group and Cerberus Operations and Advisory Company, have joined Lantern as directors.

Lantern decided to add personnel because the market's dislocation and dearth of capital have exposed significant opportunities, which require careful assessment and risk management. “With an experienced and growing team now in place, we believe we are uniquely situated to build the value of our current asset base and capitalize on future areas of opportunity in this space,” Mitchell said.