Irwin Gold - Biography

Investment Banking Career

Irwin Gold

Irwin Gold

Irwin Gold, a prominent figure in the world of finance, currently serves as the Executive Chairman of Houlihan Lokey, Inc., a leading global investment bank listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:HLI). Gold co-founded and led Houlihan Lokey’s industry-leading Financial Restructuring Group (FRG) for 25 years. With a career spanning over three decades, Gold has achieved significant recognition for his expertise in corporate debt restructuring and financial advisory services.

Executive Leadership

In April 2013, Gold assumed the role of Executive Chairman of Houlihan Lokey, overseeing strategic planning, client relations, business development, and overall firm management. In 2015, he, along with three other members of the Office of the Executives, spearheaded the initial public offering of Houlihan Lokey on the New York Stock Exchange. Since its IPO, Houlihan Lokey has averaged annual revenue growth of 16% and achieved a market capitalization of in excess of $9 billion. For calendar year 2023, the firm holds the position as the No. 1 investment bank for all global M&A transactions, the No. 1 M&A advisor for the past nine consecutive years in the U.S., the No. 1 global restructuring advisor for the past ten consecutive years, and the No. 1 global M&A fairness opinion advisor over the past 25 years, all based on the number of transactions and according to data provided by LSEG (formerly Refinitiv).

Key Restructuring Accomplishments

In 1988, Gold co-founded the Financial Restructuring Group (FRG) at Houlihan Lokey, marking the beginning of his impactful career in corporate finance. This group played a pivotal role in redefining the function of investment bankers in financially distressed transactions. Credited with pioneering innovative restructuring and liability management techniques, including pre-arranged and pre-packaged Chapter 11 cases, larger-scale 363 asset sales, and creative exchange offer structures, Gold’s contributions have reshaped the way companies navigate financial crises. The FRG provided Houlihan Lokey with global visibility and branding, as well as relationships with the most significant capital providers, and allowed the firm to expand while other investment banks were contracting due to the countercyclicality of the restructuring business.

Throughout his career, Gold led successful restructuring deals for global corporations facing financial challenges, including the restructuring of WorldCom in 2002, where he rationalized a massive $40 billion debt load, representing the largest Chapter 11 filing in U.S. history at the time. In 2005, he and his team managed Delta Air Lines’ restructuring efforts, targeting an additional $3 billion per year in expense reductions by 2007, helping Delta return to profitability. In 2009, under Gold’s leadership, Houlihan Lokey executed a significant debt restructuring for Charter Communications, reducing its debt by $8 billion and raising $3.3 billion in additional capital. In 2010, he managed the restructuring of MGM studios through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan and restructured the $4 billion debt load of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Publications and Industry Engagement

Gold’s contributions to the field of finance extend to his role as an industry expert and author (Valuation of the Restructured Enterprise and Its Effect on Negotiating Leverage). He has also served on the boards of directors of numerous public companies, testified as an expert witness on restructuring matters, and spoken publicly on various financial restructuring topics.

Insights and Media Commentary

Sharing valuable insights on financial industry trends through numerous interviews and articles, Gold has been frequently cited for his perspectives on triggers of financial distress, market dislocations, credit default cycles, and the effects of disruptive innovation and geopolitical factors on markets. He has addressed issues such as talent retention in the financial sector, market conditions, and their impact on young professionals’ career choices.

In summary, Irwin Gold’s career is defined by his exceptional contributions in building Houlihan Lokey into the global investment bank it is today and as a pioneer in the field of corporate debt restructuring and finance.

Mr. Gold holds a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and a B.A. in Economics, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University.