Leon Meng

Chairman and Director

Mr. Meng is the founding Managing Partner and Chairman of Ascendent Capital Partners, a private equity firm managing capital for globally renowned institutional investors since 2011. He has over 23 years of experience in investment management and investment banking. Prior to Ascendent Capital Partners, from 2007 to 2011, Mr. Meng was a Managing Director of D. E. Shaw & Co., where he was a global partner and the leader of the firm’s Asian investment office based in Hong Kong. He also founded and was the Chief Executive Officer of D. E. Shaw & Co.’s private equity business in Greater China. Previously, from 2002 to 2007, Mr. Meng was a Managing Director and Co-Head of China Investment Banking at JPMorgan, in charge of its Asia M&A and China investment banking activities. Mr. Meng began his career in the mid- 1990s as an M&A specialist and was a Vice President at Credit Suisse First Boston based in New York. Mr. Meng also served as a director at RYB Education, Inc. (NYSE: RYB) from 2015 to 2020.

Mr. Meng received his bachelor’s degree in science, summa cum laude, from Chapman University, and his master’s degree in public and private management with distinction from the Yale School of Management, where he is a Donaldson Fellow and a Global Advisory Board member.

Christopher Lawrence

Vice Chairman and Director

Mr. Lawrence is an accomplished investment banker with nearly 40 years of experience working with and developing relationships with major multinational companies as a strategic advisor focused on value creation. He has represented prominent clients, often over multi-year periods, in complex transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, restructurings, strategic investments and capital raising. Many of the advisory assignments have had significant international elements, across a wide range of industries, focusing on where his hands-on strategic advice and tactical work can be complementary to the client’s own strategic process.

Mr. Lawrence started his investment banking career in 1981 at Salomon Brothers, and stayed at its successor organizations through 2000, when he left as a Vice Chairman to go to Credit Suisse First Boston as a Vice Chairman and head of the Global Telecoms group in the investment banking division. From 2003 to 2005, he served as the Chief Strategic Officer of Credit Suisse Group. Between 2005 and 2018, Mr. Lawrence was a Vice Chairman, Co-Head of Investment Banking for North America, and then Deputy Chairman of Global Investment Banking at Rothschild & Co. In 2018, Mr. Lawrence joined Lazard as Deputy Chairman, Investment Banking. In 2019, he left and formed Snow Owl Advisors, an independent advisory firm.

During his long tenure at leading global investment banks, Mr. Lawrence advised on many notable large-scale deals and developed a broad network of prominent executives, private equity investors, investment bankers, and other professional parties, who may be useful in sourcing deals and providing critical insight. He received an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an AB from Vassar College.

Derek Cheung

Chief Executive Officer and Director

Mr. Cheung has over 20 years of experience in private equity and investment banking. Since 2019, he has been a Managing Director at Ascendent Capital Partners, spearheading the effort in global alternative investment opportunities. Previously, from 2013 to 2018, Mr. Cheung was the Chief Investment Officer at Verdant Capital Group Limited, a private investment firm based in Hong Kong, managing and overseeing a global portfolio of private equity, public equity and venture capital investments. During that time, he also served on the board of directors and as the responsible officer and the sole portfolio manager of Verdant Capital Management Limited, an asset management company licensed with the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong, as well as the board of directors of Bosera Asset Management, one of the largest mutual fund companies in China.

Prior to that, from 2008 to 2013, Mr. Cheung was an executive director of the Greater China private equity group at D. E. Shaw & Co, focused on complex situations in China and overseas opportunities. Mr. Cheung started his career as a mergers and acquisitions banker in the New York office of Credit Suisse First Boston, where he advised major U.S. retail and consumer companies on their China acquisition strategies, before joining the Hong Kong office of J.P. Morgan, focused on Greater China mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Cheung received Bachelor of Science degrees in mathematics and economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.