Ara Partners adds three to senior investment team

Ara Partners Group has expanded its senior investment team with three new additions. Joining the firm are Cory Steffek as managing director, Grant Haddix as operating partner and James Wang as principal.


HOUSTON, Sept. 7, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Ara Partners Group (“Ara Partners”), an alternative asset manager focused on the industrial, chemicals & materials and energy sectors, has expanded its senior investment team to include three experienced executives: Cory Steffek as Managing Director, Grant Haddix as Operating Partner and James Wang as Principal. They join Managing Partners Charles Cherington and Troy Thacker to comprise Ara Partners’ senior leadership.

“We are pleased to bring together this group of talented investors representing a diverse array of sector experience and technical skill,” said Mr. Charles Cherington. “Cory, Grant and James will play crucial roles in overseeing our four current direct investments, and pursuing future investments, using a careful, hands-on approach to portfolio management.”

“Cory, Grant and James are impressive executives who will add relevant expertise to Ara’s already deep bench of senior leadership,” added Mr. Troy Thacker. “We’re excited to leverage their capabilities to continue executing on Ara Partners’ distinct private equity strategy targeting industrial, chemicals & materials and energy companies benefiting from the multi-decade energy transition now underway.”

Mr. Steffek brings nearly 20 years of experience in Ara Partners’ key sectors. He most recently served as the Managing Director (North America) at Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of Aramco. At Aramco, he was responsible for technology investments in oil & gas, chemicals & materials, digital industrial and renewables. He has also held senior roles at First Solar, Altira Group and PPG Industries. Mr. Steffek holds a PhD in materials chemistry from the University of Michigan and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Mr. Haddix brings 29 years of experience in process, product and business development with Shell in the chemicals and upstream areas. Mr. Haddix’s roles at Shell ranged from technical expert to commercial leadership. Most recently, he led development of Shell Chemicals’ Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) surfactants business. Mr. Haddix holds a BS in chemical engineering from Iowa State University, and a PhD chemical engineering from University of California, Berkeley. He also holds an MBA from the University of Texas, Austin.

Mr. Wang brings over a decade of private equity experience to Ara. He most recently served as Vice President at First Reserve, a global energy-focused private equity firm, where he was responsible for overseeing origination, analysis, structuring, execution and monitoring of investments. Prior to joining First Reserve, he worked in the Global Natural Resources Group, Investment Banking Division, at Lehman Brothers. Mr. Wang holds a BBA and an MPA from the University of Texas, Austin.

About Ara Partners Group
Ara Partners Group is an alternative asset manager focused on the industrial, chemicals & materials and energy sectors. Ara Partners takes a thematic approach to investing within these sectors by seeking to build businesses that have exposure to the ongoing energy transition, benefitting from the ongoing changes in the energy and power markets and the increasing importance of sustainability and efficiency. For more information on Ara Partners, please visit