our team

Our management team is comprised of industry professionals with expertise across a diverse range of industries.

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Phil Gass

Managing Director of Investments

Phil Gass serves as Managing Director of Investments of HGI and is responsible for HGI's investments in financial institutions, including insurance, reinsurance, specialty finance and asset management.

Phil Gass serves as Managing Director of Investments of HGI and is responsible for HGI's investments in financial institutions, including insurance, reinsurance, specialty finance and asset management. Mr. Gass led the acquisition of Fidelity & Guaranty Life, HGI's anchor insurance company, and the formation of Front Street Re, HGI’s reinsurance platform focusing on fixed annuities. He was also responsible for the formation of Salus Capital Partners, HGI's asset based lending platform.

Prior to joining HGI, Mr. Gass was a senior analyst with an affiliate of HGI, Harbinger Capital Partners LLC. He joined Harbinger Capital in 2008, after serving as a Vice President with GE Capital, where he was responsible for leading the underwriting of private equity and structured finance investments. Prior to GE, Mr. Gass held roles at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, where he focused on loan workouts and company turnarounds. Mr. Gass began his career at the Sumitomo Bank underwriting structured finance investments.

Mr. Gass currently serves on the boards of Fidelity & Guaranty Life and Front Street Re, and received a B.S. in Finance from New York University and is a CFA charterholder.

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Kostas (Gus) Cheliotis

Senior Vice President & Deputy General Counsel

Kostas (Gus) Cheliotis serves as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of HGI and is focused on HGI’s investments in financial institutions, including insurance, reinsurance, specialty finance and asset management.

Kostas (Gus) Cheliotis serves as Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of HGI and is focused on HGI’s investments in financial institutions, including insurance, reinsurance, specialty finance and asset management. Mr. Cheliotis leads HGI’s legal teams responsible for transactions related to financial services businesses, and he also currently serves as a board member of Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Front Street Re and HGI Asset Management Holdings. Prior to joining HGI, Mr. Cheliotis served as Vice President & Investment Counsel of Harbinger Capital. Mr. Cheliotis started his career in 2002 as an Associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, in the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions group. At Milbank, he represented public and private companies in connection with mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, complex joint ventures, restructurings and other corporate transactions. He has completed transactions throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States in numerous regulated and non-regulated industries including, among others, insurance, financial services, gaming, telecommunications, power and energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and airlines. Mr. Cheliotis received his B.A. from St. John’s University, magna cum laude and his J.D. from New York Law School, summa cum laude, where he was a member of the Law Review.

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Omar M. Asali

President

Omar M. Asali is President and a member of the Board of Directors of HGI.

Omar M. Asali is President and a member of the Board of Directors of HGI. Mr. Asali is also the Vice Chairman of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., the Chairman of HGI Asset Management Holdings, LLC and a member of the Board of the Directors of Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Front Street Re (Cayman) Ltd, Zap.Com Corporation, and Compass Production GP, LLC, each a subsidiary of HGI.

Mr. Asali is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day activities of HGI, including M&A activity and overall business strategy for HGI and HGI’s underlying subsidiaries. Mr. Asali has been directly involved in all of HGI’s acquisitions across all sectors, and he is actively involved in HGI’s management and investment activities. Prior to becoming President of HGI, Mr. Asali was a Managing Director and Head of Global Strategy of Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, an affiliate of HGI, where he was responsible for global portfolio strategy and business development.

Before joining Harbinger Capital in 2009, Mr. Asali was the co-head of Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies (“Goldman Sachs HFS”) where he helped manage approximately $25 billion of capital allocated to external managers. Mr. Asali also served as co-chair of the Investment Committee at Goldman Sachs HFS. Before joining Goldman Sachs HFS in 2003, Mr. Asali worked in Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Division, providing M&A and strategic advisory services to clients in the High Technology Group. Mr. Asali previously worked at Capital Guidance, a boutique private equity firm. Mr. Asali began his career working for a public accounting firm. Mr. Asali received an MBA from Columbia Business School and a B.S. in Accounting from Virginia Tech.

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Thomas A. Williams

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thomas A. Williams serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of HGI since March 2012.

Thomas A. Williams serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of HGI sinc eMArch 2012. Mr. Williams also serves as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Zap.Com, a director of Front Street Re Ltd. (Cayman Islands), a director of HGI Asset Management Holdings, a director of Fidelity & Guaranty Life and a member of its audit committee.

Prior to joining HGI in March 2012, Mr. Williams was President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of RDA Holding Co. and its subsidiary Reader’s Digest Association, Inc. (together, “ RDA ”) from April 2011 until September 2011. Previously, Mr. Williams was RDA’s Chief Financial Officer from February 2009 until April 2011 where his primary focus was on developing business restructuring plans for the company. Prior to joining RDA, Mr. Williams served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Affinion Group Holdings, Inc., a portfolio company of Apollo Management, L.P., from January 2007 until February 2009 where his primary focus was on growing enterprise value, finance, accounting, treasury, tax, investor relations and SOX compliance. Previously, Mr. Williams spent more than 21 years with AT&T, Inc., where he held a progression of senior financial and officer positions including Chief Financial Officer , AT&T Networks; Chief Financial Officer, AT&T Global Network Technology Services; Chief Financial Officer, AT&T Laboratories; and AT&T Chief Process Officer. Mr. Williams started at AT&T with Bell Laboratories in June 1985. Prior to his tenure at AT&T, Mr. Williams was International Controller of McLean Industries Inc. from 1984 to 1985, Industry Analyst of Interpool Ltd. from 1982 to 1984 and Commodity Trading Associate with Bache Halsey Stuart Shields, Inc. from 1981 to 1982. Mr. Williams received a BA in Economics from the University of South Florida.

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Ehsan Zargar

Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel & Corporate Secretary

Ehsan Zargar serves as Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of HGI. Prior to that, Mr. Zargar served as Vice President, Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary of HGI.

Ehsan Zargar serves as Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of HGI. Prior to that, Mr. Zargar served as Vice President, Counsel and Assistant Corporate Secretary of HGI.

Prior to joining HGI, Mr. Zargar worked in the New York office of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP from November 2006 to June 2011, where he was an Associate in the corporate group. At Paul, Weiss, Mr. Zargar represented a variety of clients in a board range of capital markets and securities transactions and public and private mergers & acquisitions, as well as corporate governance and securities laws compliance matters. Prior to joining Paul, Weiss, Mr. Zargar worked as an Associate at a major Canadian law firm focusing on general corporate matters. Mr. Zargar received a law degree from Faculty of Law at University of Toronto and a B.A from the University of Toronto.

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David M. Maura

Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Investments

David Maura has served as a Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Investments of Harbinger Group Inc. (“HGI”) effective as of October 2011, and as a director of HGI since May 2011.

Mr. Maura has also served as the Chairman of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of HGI, since July 2011, and as the interim Chairman of the board of directors of Spectrum Brands Holdings, Inc. and as one of its directors since June 2010. Prior to becoming Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Investments at HGI, Mr. Maura was a Vice President and Director of Investments of Harbinger Capital Partners LLC (“Harbinger Capital”), an affiliate of HGI. Prior to joining Harbinger Capital in 2006, Mr. Maura was a Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst at First Albany Capital, where he focused on distressed debt and special situations, primarily in the consumer products and retail sectors. Prior to First Albany, Mr. Maura was a Director and Senior High Yield Research Analyst in Global High Yield Research at Merrill Lynch & Co. Mr. Maura was a Vice President and Senior Analyst in the High Yield Group at Wachovia Securities, where he covered various consumer product, service and retail companies. Mr. Maura began his career at ZPR Investment Management as a Financial Analyst. During the past five years, Mr. Maura has served on the board of directors of Russell Hobbs (formerly Salton, Inc.), Applica Incorporated, and Ferrous Resources Ltd. Mr. Maura received a B.S. in Business Administration from Stetson University and is a CFA charterholder.

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Michael Sena

Chief Accounting Officer

Michael Sena has been the Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of HGI since November 2012.

Michael Sena has been the Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of HGI since November 2012. From January 2009 until November 2012, Mr. Sena held various accounting and financial reporting positions with the Reader's Digest Association, last serving as Vice President and North American Controller.

Before joining the Reader's Digest Association, Mr. Sena served as Director of Reporting and Business Processes for Barr Pharmaceuticals from July 2007 until January 2009. Prior to that Mr. Sena held various positions with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Mr. Sena is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a B.S. in Accounting from Syracuse University.

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James Hart

Senior Vice President of Communications

James Hart serves as the Senior Vice President of Communications at HGI with responsibility for investor and media relations and brand management.

James Hart has served as the Senior Vice President of Communications at HGI with responsibility for investor and media relations and brand management since April 2014.

Prior to joining Harbinger in April of 2014, Mr. Hart served in senior communications roles at Affinion Group, Inc., IAC/InterActive Corp. and BearingPoint. Previously, Mr. Hart spent more than 8 years with AT&T, Inc., where he held a variety of positions with increasing responsibility in the areas of finance, operations and sales and marketing. Mr. Hart received his B.S.B.A. in Accounting and Finance from Boston University.