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Jonathan January

Jonathan January 2006-12-01 Staff Writer <bold>Career path:</bold> BA in Economics from Wayne State University, JD from University of California at Berkeley. General counsel Queenstake Resources, a Denver-based natural resources company, 1995-1998. Latin America counsel for AEP Resources while st

Career path: BA in Economics from Wayne State University, JD from University of California at Berkeley. General counsel Queenstake Resources, a Denver-based natural resources company, 1995-1998. Latin America counsel for AEP Resources while stationed in Reston, Virginia, overseeing the legal aspects of AEP's investments in Brazil and Mexico, 1998-2000. Joined Energy Investors Funds, an energyfocused private equity firm headquartered in Boston, in 2000 and oversees all legal issues as general counsel; sits on EIF's executive and investment committees

In-house advantage: January is familiar with ?the total profile of an investment, looking at a deal from beginning to end,? from both the portfolio side and the investor side. ?When you bring in counsel at different stages, they may not be used to how the entire investment flows up through a private equity ownership structure,? he adds.

Diving in: January's ?pick-up-the-ball-and-run-with-it? attitude was essential for his move to Boston-based EIF in 2000. Soon after he joined the firm, the EIF group was acquired by Londonheadquartered investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort from coowners John Hancock Financial Services and Black Hills Energy. ?It was a crash course on working with a large corporate parent,? says January. Then in 2003, the firm's structure changed again when EIF's management team, led by managing partners John Buehler, Terry Darby and Herb Magid, bought out the EIF business from Dresdner. Concurrent with the management buyout, January was promoted from vice president to partner at EIF. January was also designated a member of EIF's newly-formed executive and investment committees.

International experience: Between 2000 and 2003, when EIF's operations were overseen from Dresdner's London office, ?We had a lot of international work,? says January. ?They had a very aggressive growth plan.? Although since the MBO, EIF has focused primarily on the US power sector, it still manages a fund focused on the Caribbean Basin.

Complexity connoisseur: When asked what he considered the best part of his job, January replied, ?The complexity and the challenge that come with the deal flow that you find in private equity.? He adds that the expansion in allocations by major pension plans and university endowments have increased the level of sophistication of fund structures – and the level of disclosures and governance issues – over the last five to 10 years. ?Even though we are private, we have as much focus on governance control as a public company, and the bulk of these controls are now self-imposed by the industry,? says January.