NEW YORK, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Attorney Richard Cieri, a bankruptcy veteran who helps run law firm Kirkland & Ellis’ pre-eminent restructuring practice, is retiring, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Cieri, who helped turn around companies like Calpine Corp and Tronox Ltd, is set to step down in early 2015, the people told Reuters on Wednesday.
Cieri joined Chicago-based Kirkland in 2005 after stints leading the restructuring practices at law firms Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Jones Day. While Kirkland’s bankruptcy practice does not officially name leaders, Cieri has effectively run the group along with fellow restructuring guru James Sprayregen. The group is among the most renowned in the field, perpetually competing for corporate restructuring clients and lately dabbling in municipal restructurings like those in Detroit and Puerto Rico.
Cieri, 57, helped Kirkland land Energy Future Holdings, the bankrupt Texas power giant, as it undergoes a $40 billion restructuring. He also helped guide energy company Calpine through a two-year debt restructuring in Chapter 11 in 2006 and 2007, then assisted paint materials maker Tronox in using bankruptcy to shed hefty environmental liabilities.
Earlier in his career, Cieri represented Trans World Airlines Inc in a $4 billion bankruptcy restructuring.
Word of Cieri’s departure surprised some in the restructuring field because Cieri is still in his 50s. Two of the sources said he and Sprayregen did not get along, primarily after Sprayregen returned in 2008 from a two-year stint at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. A third source denied any feuding between the two.
Neither Cieri nor Sprayregen commented on the matter.
A Kirkland spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment. (Reporting by Nick Brown and Casey Sullivan; Editing by Eric Walsh)