Co-CEO, Managing Director
Itamar Har-Even is the Co-Founder and current Co-CEO and Managing Director at Ion Pacific, an investment and merchant bank that works from its base in Hong Kong to serve a prominent and diverse set of clients, partners and investors who are seeking a truly innovative approach to global financial services. Since Ion Pacific’s founding in early 2015, Itamar has worked with the team across the Hong Kong, London and San Francisco offices to build the firm very quickly into a leading player across its key businesses.
Before founding Ion Pacific, Itamar was a Managing Director and founding Co-Head of Investment Banking at Reorient Group, the Hong Kong listed investment bank that was sold to Jack Ma (Ali Baba) and associated entities in 2015. While there Itamar worked with Michael Joseph and the team on several ground-breaking international transactions across multiple industries. In his role on the investment and management committees, Itamar led strategic acquisitions for the firm to both drive returns and enhance its position in the region.
Prior to his time at Reorient, Itamar was a member of the Industrials Investment Banking group at Nomura Hong Kong, which he joined as part of Nomura’s purchase of Lehman Brothers Asia in 2008. While there, he worked on a series of high profile capital raises of both equity and debt, mergers and acquisitions and privatizations/LBOs throughout the Asia-Pacific region. As a founding member of Lehman Brothers’ Principal Origination Group in Asia in 2007, Itamar had responsibilities spanning origination, analysis and investment on a pipeline of over 250 prospective deals and 13 completed deals for a total of ~US$1bn of proprietary capital invested.
Itamar started his time in financial services with Lehman Brothers in New York covering the media sector. Before his move into the world of finance, he had worked for companies in the media sector since 1995.
Itamar has a B.A. with honors from Amherst College and an MBA with honors from Columbia Business School.
Co-CEO, Managing Director
Michael Joseph is the Co-Founder and current Co-CEO and Managing Director at Ion Pacific, an investment and merchant bank that works from its base in Hong Kong to serve a prominent and diverse set of clients, partners and investors who are seeking a truly innovative approach to global financial services. Since Ion Pacific’s founding in early 2015, Michael has worked with the team across the Hong Kong, London and San Francisco offices to build the firm very quickly into a leading player across its key businesses.
Before founding Ion Pacific, Michael was a Managing Director and Co-Head of Investment Banking at Reorient Group, the Hong Kong listed investment bank that was sold to Jack Ma (Ali Baba) and associated entities in 2015. While there Michael worked with Itamar Har-Even and the team on several ground-breaking international transactions across multiple industries. In his role on the investment and management committees, Michael led strategic acquisitions for the firm to both drive returns and enhance its position in the region.
Prior to joining Reorient Group, Michael was part of the Och-Ziff team in Hong Kong where he focused on investing across Asia Pacific. While at Och-Ziff, Michael looked across asset classes as well as strategies taking part in some of the larger deals in the market during the time.
Michael moved to Hong Kong as a Managing Director and a Responsible Officer overseeing Balyasny Asset Management’s expansion into Asia. While at Balyasny in Hong Kong, Michael took part in leading the group’s regional strategy and took a senior role in both investing as well as establishing the brand in the region. Before moving to Asia, Michael was a portfolio manager at Balyasny sitting in New York City overseeing the global industrials book which involved investments in the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia.
Prior to joining Balyasny, Michael was a founding member of the global industrial team at the hedge fund, George Weiss Associates. While at George Weiss, Michael also ran his own book within the firm Industrials portfolio that made investments across markets worldwide.
Michael began his career at the Connecticut based hedge Fund, Pequot Capital. Pequot at the time, was a dominant player in the hedge fund space and Michael worked across various strategies.
Michael received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Chief Operating Officer, Managing Director
Ady joined Ion Pacific as a founding member in 2015 and serves as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Ady oversees the operations of Ion Pacific and is responsible for the day-to-day leadership of the company.
Prior to joining the company, Ady was a U.S. securities and capital markets lawyer at Ashurst Hong Kong and before that he was a member of the Banking, Capital Markets and Restructuring Group at White & Case Hong Kong advising on numerous transactions in the Asia-Pacific region. Ady has practiced law for over a decade in New York, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Ady received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and his juris doctorate from Georgetown University. He also has a Masters of Arts degree from the University of Amsterdam.
Michael G. Balog is a Senior Advisor to, and an investor in, Ion Pacific, currently based in Paris, France. Prior to joining Ion Pacific, from 2002 until 2015, Michael was the Managing Partner at Balog Capital Management, a family office format, investing in public market and private equity investments globally. Michael has a wide-ranging investment experience ranging from hospitality, sports franchises, media, technology and frontier markets.
Prior to Balog Capital Management, Michael began his career in banking in San Francisco as a principal at Montgomery Securities in 1986, becoming a Managing Director there in 1994, and finally Executive Committee member at Bank of America Securities after its acquisition of Montgomery in 1997. His functional positions included institutional sales, product management, research development, and technology banking development throughout the 1990s. Some of the eras largest fund complexes and hedge-funds were clients, and remain co-investors today.
Prior to his time in investment banking in San Francisco, Michael served in product manager and product marketing roles at Datastream Communications in Santa Clara, California and Carterfone Communications in Dallas, Texas, respectively. He also served in the communications products division of Harris Corporation, also in Dallas, Texas.
Michael has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with concentrations in Marketing and Decision Science. Previously, he attended the Pingry School, Hillside, New Jersey.
Pierce Casey is a senior adviser to Ion Pacific and is based in London. Pierce is an experienced private equity practitioner and was previously a director of DCC and Alchemy Venture Partners, and is the former head of Apax Partners in Ireland.
Pierce is also a successful entrepreneur, having founded and chaired a number of companies which subsequently listed in London and Frankfurt, including Fayrewood, Computerlinks and Imprint. He is a chartered accountant and graduated from University College Dublin with a business degree.
Tony joined Ion Pacific as a Managing Director in 2016 and brings with him over 14 years of corporate finance experience in the energy, infrastructure and industrial sectors. Prior to joining Ion Pacific, Tony was a Managing Director in Nomura’s investment banking division, where he served as their head of oil and gas advisory in Asia (ex-Japan) for 5 years.
Tony has been based in Hong Kong since 2008, when he moved from New York to help Lehman Brothers expand their Natural Resources business across Asia. In that and subsequent roles he has advised on numerous cross-border public and private M&A transactions for multinational and state-owned energy companies throughout the region. He has also advised on numerous capital raisings, including public equity offerings in the United States, Hong Kong and Singapore, and debt offerings throughout the Unites States and Asia.
Tony received a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Head of Greater China,
Ellis Chu is a Managing Director and the Head of Greater China at Ion Pacific. Prior to joining Ion Pacific, Ellis was the Head of China Mergers & Acquisitions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Ellis began his finance career in New York before transferring to Asia with Lehman Brothers in 2007. He has also held senior M&A advisory positions at Citigroup Global Markets, Nomura and Lehman Brothers. Focused on the PRC’s rising prominence as a global M&A player, Ellis has advised on China’s largest and most strategic transactions, exceeding well over US$150bn in total deal value.
Ellis has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA specializing in Finance and International Business from Columbia Business School.
Itai Damti co-founded Leverate (fintech B2B, 160 employees, 6 countries) in Israel in 2008. Leverate is an industry leader in technology for online brokers, processing over US$100bn monthly. Itai currently spends his time between Hong Kong and Shanghai as CEO Asia Pacific, taking the company’s strategy, growth and operations into 12 countries in APAC with full power. Before moving to Hong Kong, he started the company’s product management team and served as VP Products for 3 years.
Before starting Leverate, Itai graduated with excellence from Basmach- the IDF’s Academy for Computer Science and Cyber Defense. He then served as a senior software developer / architect for 4 years.
Itai has a strong passion for building businesses around complex problems. His current interests include cryptocurrencies, data science, machine learning and hardware. He invests in startups and actively mentors in leading accelerators worldwide, including 500 Startups (US), Barclays Techstars (Tel Aviv) and HAX (China).
Head of EMEA,
Claire joined Ion Pacific in 2015 as Head of EMEA, and is based in London. Prior to joining Ion Pacific, in 2012 Claire established her own advisory and consultancy business, Vita nel Lusso, which provided strategic advice to small and medium sized companies seeking capital or geographic expansion. While at Vita nel Lusso Claire advised clients in the consumer & retail, oil & gas, real estate and healthcare sectors.
Prior to that, Claire spent six years as an investment banker with Lehman Brothers, advising financial institutions on mergers and acquisitions, capital raising and private placements. During this period, Claire was part of the team that advised The London Stock Exchange on five defences against hostile approaches, as well as the team that advised Santander on the £3.6bn sale of the life insurance businesses of Abbey to Resolution plc. Claire also spent two years with Rothschild between 2008 and 2011, where she advised the Irish Government on the €50bn recapitalisation of it banking sector. This included the largest ever rights issue in Irish corporate history for Bank of Ireland in 2010.
Ray O Johnson
Ray is a Senior Advisor living outside of Washington, DC. He served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation for 9 years, where he directed engineering, technology, production operations, global supply chain, program management, and logistics and sustainment. He led more than 70,000 people, working on more than 4,000 programs that provide some of the nation’s most vital security systems. Before joining Lockheed Martin, he held executive positions with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), including Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Advanced Concepts Business Unit. Ray served as a US Air Force officer, where his career included assignments in system and platform survivability; communications and electronics; laser systems design and analysis; electro-optic systems research and development; and command and control.
Ray is a member of the Argonne National Laboratory Board of Governors, and he serves on the USAF Air University Board of Visitors. He interacts at the highest levels nationally and internationally with officials in government, industry, and academia, and he is frequently sought as an expert in the media and as a speaker on business, strategy, innovation, and education.
Ray holds a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Oklahoma State University, where he received the Hall of Fame award from the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Technology, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology, where he received the Distinguished Alumni award.
Head of Funds Advisory,
Joshua heads the Funds Advisory business of Ion Pacific, which acquired Old Peak Partners, Ltd., a strategic advisory firm based in Hong Kong that he founded to serve private equity general partners in areas relating to market positioning, deal flow stimulation, portfolio liquidity solutions, and capital formation.
Previously, Joshua was Managing Director at Hamilton Lane, a leading global private equity investment firm, representing more than $220 billion of assets under management and supervision. Joshua established Hamilton Lane’s Hong Kong office, where he was responsible for investment activities in the Asia region across primary fund, secondary, and co-investment strategies. He was also active in developing and managing Hamilton Lane’s institutional client base in Asia, consisting of sovereign wealth funds, national and corporate pension schemes, and family offices. In addition, Joshua served as a member of Hamilton Lane’s Portfolio Strategy Committee, which set the firm’s global investment agendas.
Prior to Hamilton Lane, Joshua held investment and corporate finance positions with Loews Corporation, a publicly-traded diversified financial holding company, and also spent time as a research analyst at a value-oriented financial markets journal and as an associate in the enterprise valuation group of a global professional services firm.
Joshua earned his M.B.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business and holds a B.S. in Economics from the Wharton School and a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania.
Melody, an Investment Banking Analyst at our head office in Hong Kong, joined Ion Pacific in May 2016. Previously, Melody was a consultant at EY Financial Services Advisory and Transaction Advisory, where she contributed to strategic consulting projects, risk management advisory and M&A engagements.
Prior to that, Melody was an Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Citigroup in Hong Kong, where she worked closely with industry teams (TMT, consumer, financial institutions and real estate) on M&A transactions, bond issuances, back-door listings and private placements.
Melody received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary.
Rachel joined our head office in Hong Kong as an Investment Banking Analyst in September 2017. Previously, she was an Investment Banking Summer Analyst at Ion Pacific where she worked closely with our team and contributed to several cross-border M&A transactions and capital raising projects in Real Estate, Consumer Manufacturing, Financial Institution and Energy Sectors.
Prior to that, Rachel interned in the Corporate Valuation Department at Crowe Horwath Consulting & Valuation in Hong Kong, where she participated in several financial consulting cases by performing pre- and post-IPO analysis and conducting industrial researches.
Rachel is currently a CFA level II candidate. She graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) as a Bachelor of Business Administration; with concentrations in Finance and Business Economics, she has completed coursework including but not limited to Corporate Finance, Financial Markets, Merger & Acquisition, Financial Accounting and Hong Kong Business Law. During her undergraduate life, she served as the Vice President in the CUHK’s Real Estate Investment Club (REIC), where she successfully convinced a local consulting company to cooperate with REIC and initiated a research project on the topic of Asia Real Estate Crowdfunding.
Kristaps has been with Ion Pacific since the establishment of the company in early 2015. Previously, Kristaps was a member of investment banking team at Reorient Financial markets, where he contributed to the US$800mn sale of House of Fraser department stores to Sanpower Group as well as several high profile equity raises for ASX-listed natural resources companies.
Before moving to Asia, Kristaps was a founding member of the Dukascopy Bank research team focusing on foreign exchange market analysis for retail investors.
Kristaps holds a master’s degree from Peking University and an undergraduate degree from Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration.
Jonathan joined Ion Pacific as a Managing Director in 2016. Prior to relocating to Hong Kong, Jonathan was a Managing Director of the Investment & Capital Corporation of the Philippines (ICCP), a leading boutique investment bank based in Manila. He built and led the mergers and acquisitions advisory business of ICCP for four years.
Jonathan has over 14 years of experience in investment banking, private equity related transactions, and international finance. His investment banking expertise includes mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, special situations and capital markets transactions. He has worked on transactions across a variety of industries including healthcare, financial services, information technology and general industrials. He has completed transactions totaling more than US$4.5bn involving companies such as Novartis, Shire Pharmaceuticals, Valeant Pharmaceuticals and ADP.
Prior to his time at ICCP, Jonathan was based in Manila as an Investment Specialist in the Private Sector Operations Department of the Asian Development Bank – focusing on direct equity investments in emerging market financial institutions across Asia. He began his investment banking career as an Associate with Bear Stearns followed by a stint as Vice President in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department at Morgan Stanley, both based in New York.
Jonathan holds an MBA and a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University. He holds a BSFS degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He also studied in the International Division of Waseda University, Tokyo and speaks Japanese. Jonathan has lived and worked in Asia since 2007.
Chalk Yin Wan
Head of Execution
Chalk joined Ion Pacific in 2015 as Head of Execution. Previously, Chalk was Vice President of Investment Banking at Reorient Group, a Hong Kong listed investment bank backed by YF Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by Jack Ma.
Prior to that, Chalk spent four years as an investment banker with Evercore Partners, acting as independent advisor on corporate finance transactions with a focus on mergers & acquisitions, capital raisings and restructurings throughout South East Asia. During this period, Chalk was part of the team that advised China Light & Power on its US$3.4bn acquisition of ExxonMobil’s Hong Kong power businesses. Before relocating to Hong Kong, Chalk also spent two years as a member of the KPMG Business Modeling Group in London where he advised Lloyds Banking Group on its participation in the UK Government Asset Protection Scheme to insure £325bn of high risk assets. Chalk obtained his Chartered Accountancy with Deloitte in London.
Head of Israel,
Eran joined Ion Pacific in 2017 as head of the Israeli office and is based in Tel Aviv. Prior to joining Ion Pacific, Eran led the Investment Banking group at Poalim Capital Markets (PCM), subsidiary of Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest commercial bank. In his role at PCM, Eran covered a significant number of Israeli clients. He has a deep knowledge of the Israeli market and a wide network of connections with companies, investors, service providers and regulators.
Prior to PCM, Eran worked in the M&A group of BofA Merrill Lynch in New York and before that in the Tech M&A group of Lehman Brothers in New York. Eran has over 17 years of experience in financial services and has been involved in M&A, Financing and Private Equity transactions in a variety of industries and jurisdictions. Eran has advised on transactions with an aggregate value of over $13bn and his clients have included companies such as Hertz, Caterpillar, Cognos, GSI Commerce, TeleAtlas and TJX. Eran is a CPA (Israel) and started his career at E&Y (Israel).
Eran holds a BA in Accounting & Economics from Tel Aviv University and an MBA with honors from Columbia University.