Angelo Thalassinos Joins Restructuring Communications Team
Angelo Thalassinos recently joined FTI as a Managing Director focusing on Restructuring Communications with over a decade of experience and a deep understanding of legal and financial considerations that influence stakeholder decisions across a wide range of industries. Most recently, Angelo spent six years at Reorg Research, Inc., where he led distressed debt and restructuring coverage in the Americas focusing on Chapter 11 bankruptcies and related state and federal litigation. Prior to Reorg, he worked for Brown Rudnick LLP, where he specialized in complex corporate restructuring, special situations and insolvency matters.
What’s it been like to join a company in these strange times?
It comes with its challenges, that’s for sure, but FTI and specifically the special situations and restructuring groups have done a really good job of helping to integrate me, and have been really gracious with their time. I’ve been able to get on phone calls and video conferences with people, and the whole thing has just been really smooth. Of course, it has also been a little challenging compared to being in an office where, perhaps, one of your colleagues walks past and sees you and thinks “hey, you should jump on this call with me!”, but other than that, it’s been remarkably normal.
Tell us about your path to FTI. What were you doing leading up to this role?
I have always been in corporate restructuring. I started my career practicing law at a law firm in 2008, and worked in the firm’s Boston, New York, and London offices during my time there. One of my first matters was working for various clients involved in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. It was an incredibly interesting time to be a young restructuring associate and I was able to learn a lot. Not sleep a lot, necessarily, but I learned a lot!
About six years later an opportunity came up with what was then a start-up, focused on research around restructuring and distressed debt. It delivered news as a subscription model to law firms, financial advisors, banks, and so forth. That was Reorg Research, and I spent a subsequent six years there, leading their Chapter 11 and bankruptcy restructuring practice in the US. That role involved a lot of reading, writing and speaking with different clients. When I saw FTI advertising for a role in the restructuring space, I took the opportunity to apply as I was intrigued by the unique mix of skills and expertise the company was looking for and realized I’d be a good fit for the role. I spoke to some wonderful people throughout the interview process and realized it was going to just be a really natural fit.
What are you most passionate about in your work?
I’m most passionate about the complex and company-specific considerations tied to every restructuring and the necessary communication and education process that is required to be successful. Being able to be concise and effective in the company’s messaging. Being able to explain and distill concepts and make them easily digestible either for a client or for another stakeholder, it’s powerful.
I really enjoy it because it is such a niche and complex subject, but it’s also very rewarding.
People often think of bankruptcy and restructuring with a negative connotation, which is sometimes the case of course, but there’s a lot of positive and positive momentum that comes out of it too.
Being able to explain the process and take a client or stakeholder through the process, being able to get to the point where, maybe not everybody agrees, but they’re at least all on the same page in terms of process and concepts, that’s important.
How do you think COVID-19 is going to affect the whole restructuring space?
There’s been an uptick in activity across the board. Companies that were struggling before the pandemic but could have delayed a restructuring, have moved toward a chapter 11 filing that bit faster.
We’re seeing it with retailers, some health care businesses, the energy sector, insurance companies. The impact is different across and even within industries and in some sectors like oil and gas there were other factors at play long before Coronavirus hit, but the pandemic may have accelerated things. Of course, some companies are seeing positive business aspects as a result of the pandemic too.
Which office will you be working out of when we do get back to an office?
New York. But for now, I’m just learning to get to know my colleagues via video conferencing, which is a step up from email, but of course it’s no substitute for in-person interaction, so I’m looking forward to that. This is not something people expected or planned for, even 3 months ago, so everyone is doing really well adapting to it and just being very gracious and generous with their time.
How are you managing the work/life balance from home?
This is a struggle for many people, I think. People have varying personal and family commitments. In my family, we have a 10-month-old baby who is very mobile now, and both me and my wife work full time, so we’re having to balance his care with work commitments, but we’re aware that that’s an easier situation than, say, having two or three kids, or having school-age kids you need to homeschool. A silver lining in all this though is that it’s been really refreshing to hear from my colleagues being open about their lives and what’s going on personally for them. It helps break the ice and we get to know each other better.
What are your hobbies outside of work? And are you still able to do them these days?
Ha, well, I’ve definitely become a little bit of a handyman, because last fall we became first-time homeowners, which is fun! We’re also trying to spend as much time outside as we safely can. We have always loved going to the beach as a family and hopefully, we’ll be able to do that again soon. We’d also love to be able to celebrate our baby’s first birthday with family in a couple of months, but we’ll see how it goes!