Bernhard Capital appoints ex-Albemarle CEO/chairman as partner

Bernhard Capital has named Luther C. Kissam IV as a partner.

Bernhard Capital has named Luther C. Kissam IV as a partner. He is the former chairman and CEO of Albemarle Corporation.


BATON ROUGE, La., Jan. 4, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Bernhard Capital Partners Management, LP (“Bernhard Capital” or the “Firm”), a service and infrastructure-focused private equity management firm, today announced that Luther C. “Luke” Kissam, IV has joined Bernhard Capital as a Partner.

Mr. Kissam is a visionary leader and investor in the transitional energy space and has two decades of experience in the operational and financial aspects of major global businesses. He previously served as Chairman and CEO of Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB), a global company with leading positions in lithium and a nearly $16 billion market capitalization. In this role, he spearheaded Ablemarle’s $6.2 billion acquisition of Rockwood Holdings, Inc. in 2014, and helped transform Albemarle into a global leader in the fast-growth lithium business, which is a critical enabler for electric reliability, energy storage and the emerging clean energy economy. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Albemarle as well as DuPont de Nemours Inc. and OGE Energy Corp.

Jim Bernhard, partner at Bernhard Capital, said, “Luke is an excellent addition to our team and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Firm. He brings strong experience in our core competency areas as well as a history of innovative and forward-looking investments in transitional energy and the renewable future – which we believe will be a significant focus area in 2021 and beyond. Luke’s highly successful 17-year track record as an executive (including as CEO) of Albemarle will enhance our capabilities. As a tried-and-true manager of successful businesses, Luke fits in well with our Firm that is composed largely of industry experts who understand what it takes to drive excellence and help our portfolio companies succeed.”

Luke Kissam said, “I’m excited to be joining this highly successful firm. I’ve known Jim Bernhard for many years and believe the team at Bernhard Capital possess a unique combination of operational know-how and infrastructure sector expertise. They have a strong track record of working with management teams to grow successful companies – which is something that I love doing. Coming on as a partner at Bernhard Capital is the perfect progression from my time leading Albemarle and will allow me to continue to pursue my passion for leading and investing in great companies.”

Bernhard Capital also announced that Jeffrey Koonce and Jonathan de Lauréal have been promoted to Partner and Managing Director, respectively. Mr. Koonce has been with the Firm since January 2015. Mr. de Lauréal has been with the Firm since August 2013.
Jim Bernhard continued, “We’re very happy to be recognizing Jeff and Jonathan, both of whom have impressive backgrounds and have made substantial contributions to our success. Jeff’s extensive and widely recognized expertise in taxation and transactions has proven to be highly impactful in his role and we are excited to welcome him to the partnership. In his years here at Bernhard Capital, Jonathan has grown to take on increasing levels of responsibility building on his investing background. We look forward to both Jeff’s and Jonathan’s continuing success.”

Luther C. Kissam, IV Biography
Mr. Kissam served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Albemarle Corporation from September 2011 to April 2020. He was elected to the company’s board of directors in 2011 and served as Chairman of the board from 2016 to April of 2020. Mr. Kissam joined Albemarle in 2003 as Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary and served as Senior Vice President, Manufacturing and Law, and Corporate Secretary from January 2008 until his promotion to President in March 2010.

Prior to joining Albemarle, Mr. Kissam served as Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Merisant Company, a manufacturer of artificial sweeteners. Before Merisant, he was Assistant General Counsel of Monsanto Company, a provider of agricultural products and solutions. In addition to his public company directorships, Mr. Kissam has served on a number of community and charitable boards and associations. He graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from The Citadel in 1986 and magna cum laude from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1989.

Jeffrey Koonce Biography
Mr. Koonce is a Partner at Bernhard Capital. He is involved in all areas of the Firm’s investment activities. Prior to joining Bernhard Capital, Mr. Koonce was a partner at Phelps Dunbar, LLP where he focused on federal and state taxation, business formations and business transactions. Mr. Koonce has been recognized by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and Louisiana Super Lawyers in tax law, and was recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” in tax law by The Best Lawyers in America. He is the Past-President of the Baton Rouge Chapter of the Society of Louisiana CPAs, a Past-Board Member of the Louisiana Society of Certified Public Accountants, and Past-Chairman of the Louisiana State Bar Association Tax Law Advisory Commission. Mr. Koonce received his B.S. in Accounting from Louisiana State University and is a certified public accountant (inactive). He received his J.D. from the Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center and his L.L.M. in Taxation from Boston University School of Law.

Jonathan de Lauréal Biography
Mr. de Lauréal is a Managing Director at Bernhard Capital. He is involved in all areas of the Firm’s investment activities. Prior to joining Bernhard Capital, he served as an Associate at Lightyear Capital in New York, NY. While at Lightyear, Mr. de Lauréal was involved in all aspects of the investment process including evaluation of new investment opportunities, deal structuring and execution, and ongoing monitoring of existing portfolio companies. Prior to his tenure at Lightyear, Mr. de Lauréal was a member of the Financial Institutions Group at Bank of America Merrill Lynch where he worked on various mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts, and capital raises for clients in the asset management and insurance industries. Mr. de Lauréal received his B.S. in Finance from the University of Georgia.

About Bernhard Capital Partners
Bernhard Capital Partners is a service and infrastructure-focused private equity management firm established in 2013 by Jim Bernhard, Jeff Jenkins and a team of experienced private-equity professionals. Bernhard Capital seeks to create sustainable value by leveraging its experience in acquiring, operating and growing services and infrastructure businesses. Bernhard Capital portfolio companies include Allied Power, National Water Infrastructure, Atlas Technical Consultants, Bernhard Energy Solutions, Brown and Root, Charah Solutions, Epic Piping, The Lemoine Company and United Utility.