Alvarez & Marsal Asia boss Jim Dubow new chairman of Noble

18 October 2019 Consultancy.asia

Jim Dubow, the head of Alvarez & Marsal in Asia, has replaced Paul Brough as the chair of recovering commodities firm Noble Group.

Having saved what was once Asia’s largest commodity trading house from the brink of collapse, noted restructuring specialist and former KPMG Hong Kong senior partner Paul Brough has stepped down from his chairmanship of the Noble Group – with Alvarez & Marsal’s Asia boss Jim Dubow appointed as its new non-executive chairman. Dubow has over two decades of experience as a turnaround consultant, and has been based in Asia since 2005.

Initially joining Alvarez & Marsal in New York in 2002 following an MBA in Finance with the NYU Stern School of Business, Dubow later relocated with the management consultancy to Asia to help establish its China operations (Dubow is fluent in written and spoken Mandarin) – before a near five-year stint as the CFO of power producer Meiya Power Company. In 2012 he returned to A&M as a managing director in Hong Kong to lead the firm’s regional expansion plans.

According to a press release, Dubow in his non-executive chairman role with Noble will now be tasked with overseeing the company’s return to solid long-term growth, following what its describes as a successful restructuring undertaken in the back half of last year. Having joined Noble’s board as an independent director in January, Dubow will also now be responsible for the governance of the business and leading a ‘robust and experienced board’

James Dubow, managing directer at Alvarez & Marsal

“My priority is to support the management team to deliver on its strategic objectives, while overseeing the continuation of robust, best-in-class governance and risk management systems and processes,” Dubow stated. “As a Board, our absolute focus is on delivering Noble Holdings’ full potential, to meet the evolving needs of our dedicated customers to capitalise on Asia’s compelling growth opportunities, while protecting the interests of stakeholders.”

Departing chairman Paul Brough – widely known for his previous work in winding up Lehman Brothers in Asia – was elevated in the middle of 2017 (he had served as a director from 2015) to save Noble from disgruntled backers after the company’s stocks had collapsed over the prior two years, wiping off almost $5 billion in market value until that point. Brough first joined KPMG in Hong Kong in 1983, later made the firm’s head of Financial Advisory Services for APAC.

Another restructuring specialist, Fraser Pearce, has also stepped down from his role as an independent director on the Noble board. Currently operating his own restructuring consultancy, Pearce has been involved in a number of high-profile recent cases, including as Chief Restructuring Officer for Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant business (later administrated by KPMG), and as a non-executive director at the collapsed Abraaj – with A&M representing investors.

“On behalf of the Board and all our colleagues at Noble Holdings, I would like to thank Fraser for his contribution to the Company,” said Dubow of Pearce’s departure. “He was involved in the completion of the business restructuring last year and with the business on track to deliver its long-term business plan, Fraser now intends to pursue other opportunities. We are very grateful for his support during his service and wish him all the best for the future.”