MARK FRANCIS / CHAIRMAN
Mark is an entrepreneur, investor, and former investment banker. Mark has led and chaired a number of successful start-ups, both in the US and in Europe. Prior to this, Mark had a long career as an investment banker both in London and on Wall Street during which he was a Managing Director of Investment Banking at Citigroup, UBS, and Lazard where he specialized in Mergers and Acquisitions. Mark is a Fellow of The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales; a Fellow of The Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment, and holds a BSc.(Hons) from Aston University in England.
NICHOLAS KIRK / MANAGING DIRECTOR
Mr. Kirk’s broad finance experience includes a range of unique advisory mandates at all levels of transaction value. Specifically, Kirk has executed buy-side and sell-side assignments, Chapter 11 and privately negotiated restructurings and private market debt and equity placements. Mr. Kirk began his banking career in the M&A group of Lazard Fréres & Co., LLC, working with the Tech, Media and Telecom (TMT) team. Thereafter he was with Compass Advisers and Berenson & Company, LLC, serving a broad range of clients including: Private equity funds, hedge funds, public and privately held companies as well as veteran management teams. Industry coverage included consumer products, real estate and general industrial sectors. Mr. Kirk served as Vice-President of Finance and Operations of Christiana Vodka.
Mr. Kirk founded Hickory to provide clients in the consumer product, general industrial, real estate and technology sector with high quality, dispassionate advice. Hickory’s commercial philosophy is simple: “Successful Operations Create the Need for Finance”. Enduring value is created by providing experienced, capable human capital with the necessary tools to create products and services which resonate with customers.
Mr. Kirk earned his Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with Distinction, from the University of Michigan Business School. He has passed the CPA exam. Mr. Kirk is an active philanthropist involved with The Brick Church’s volunteer activities.
RHYS MOORE / MANAGING DIRECTOR RETAIL & APPAREL
Mr. Moore’s professional experience includes senior management roles in Fortune 500 companies and private entrepreneurial firms managing brands across multiple channels of distribution. He has worked as a strategic consultant for Oxford Industries, Orvis, 66 North, Mary Norton, Skin Therapie as well as TriState Holdings (Shanghai) Mitsui (Japan) and the Apparel Group (UAE).
Moore began his career in a training function at Saks Fifth Avenue, moved to Xpres Corp., then to Sara Lee’s Champion Athletic unit where he held positions as Brand Manager, Director and National Sales Manager for several categories of the brand. Moore was responsible for several successful category launches and brand extensions in his roles at Champion. Moore then acquired, with a group, the distressed North American business of The Oroton Group (Australia). A turnaround was completed which included the opening of free standing retail stores and the development of an eCommerce business. Moore then went on to head the Global Apparel & Retail business for Victorinox Swiss Army Brands.
Before co-founding The Hickory Group with Mr. Kirk, Moore acted as a consultant to branded consumer companies as well as Investment Banking firms and Private Equity Groups. Moore earned his undergraduate degree from of the University of Michigan and earned his MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Rhys has served on the Board of Trustees of the Wooster School, and the Board of Directors of Sydney Harbour, Inc. Rhys is active in equestrian sports and avid outdoor sportsman.
HUGO FRANCIS / SENIOR ANALYST
Hugo Francis joined The Hickory Group in 2016 and is a generalist banker with a particular focus on the firm's Social Responsibility and Sustainability Strategic Services. In particular, Hugo's domain knowledge includes renewable energy and advising B Corporation certified firms in sorting capital solutions without losing their mandate of "doing good by being good". Prior to joining Hickory, Hugo was a summer analyst at Zaoui & Co. in London. Hugo graduated with a 2.1 Honors Degree from the University of St. Andrews.