Well known for her turnaround expertise, Deborah has consistently positioned businesses for accelerated growth. She has diagnosed and remedied problems for over 60 corporations plus furthered growth of nearly 30 ventures, including her own. She was once described by the late Fletcher Byrom as a “pure thinker” – quickly gaining a deep understanding of complex problems, while exhibiting sensitivity to all parties involved and an extraordinary ability to assimilate and craft lasting solutions.
Deborah has been directly involved in much of the extraordinary innovation that has taken place on Wall Street over the last few decades, and in handling the consequences of its excess. With solid knowledge of capital markets from all points of view and a long record of success in building and rebuilding companies from the bottom up, Deborah focuses relentlessly on defining transitions as positive processes. Not interested in merely preserving companies, organizations and jobs, instead she works to drive them to levels previously unimagined. She has led turnaround teams for diverse companies including Parmalat USA, Mississippi Chemical, and FINOVA. Earlier, she served as 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. A trustee of the Committee for Economic Development since 1992, she is also on the advisory board of family owned Biltmore Companies. 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 firm’s structured products group. She is a 2011 NACD Board Leadership Fellow, the first year such designations were available.
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, she is deeply involved in promoting entrepreneurship.