NEW YORK, NY – January 21, 2010 – Vestar Capital Partners, a leading international private equity firm, today announced nine promotions. Evan Marks, Brendan J. Spillane and Oussama I. Takla have been promoted to Managing Director; Garrick D. Bernstein has been promoted to Principal; Fabrizio Gualdi, Gregor Hengst and John B. Stephens have been promoted to Vice President; and Patrick Hofmann and David N. Kestnbaum have been promoted to Senior Associate.

“We are delighted to have such talented individuals on our team and we are pleased to recognize their contributions to the firm,” said Daniel S. O’Connell, CEO of Vestar. “These individuals have played a significant role in Vestar’s success during the recent challenging economic environment.”

Mr. Marks, based in Vestar’s New York City office, joined the firm in 2007. He is currently a member of Vestar’s Resources Group. Previously, Mr. Marks was with WebMD and prior to that he was Vice President of Marketing for Medco. Following Medco’s sale to Merck & Co., he became a member of Merck’s Worldwide Business Strategy Team. Mr. Marks is a graduate of New York University and holds a BS in Finance.

Mr. Spillane, based in New York City, joined Vestar in 2006 as Executive Vice President and Corporate Chief Financial Officer. He came to Vestar from SV Investment Partners, the U.S. affiliate of Schroder Ventures, where he served as CFO. Previously, Mr. Spillane served as the CFO of Schafer Capital Management, a registered investment adviser. He started his career in the audit practice at Price Waterhouse. Mr. Spillane holds his BS from Manhattan College and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Mr. Takla joined Vestar Europe’s Paris office in 2001. Previously, he was in the Corporate Finance and Merchant Banking division of Goldman Sachs and prior to that, he worked at Coopers & Lybrand as a management consultant. Mr. Takla holds an engineering degree from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées.

Mr. Bernstein, based in New York City, came to Vestar in 2004. He is currently a member of Vestar’s Media and Healthcare Groups. Previously, Mr. Bernstein was with Dolphin Equity Partners and prior to that, he was a member of the Global Communications Group at Merrill Lynch. Mr. Bernstein holds a BA, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Gualdi joined Vestar Europe’s Milan office in 2005 after four years in the Mergers & Acquisitions Department of Morgan Stanley Investment Bank in London and Milan. He earned his Master’s Degree in Business Administration and Economics, summa cum laude, from Italy’s LIUC University.

Dr. Hengst joined Vestar Europe’s Munich office as a Senior Associate in 2008. Previously, he was with McKinsey & Company in Munich and before that was with the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and with Commerzbank in Cologne. Dr. Hengst earned his doctorate degree in law, summa cum laude, from Cologne University.

Mr. Stephens, based in Vestar’s Denver office, joined Vestar in 2006 and is presently a member of the Consumer and Diversified Industries Groups. Previously, he was a member of the Leveraged Finance Group at Wachovia Securities and prior to that he worked at L.E.K. Consulting. Mr. Stephens holds a BA, magna cum laude, from Middlebury College, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society.

Mr. Hofmann joined Vestar’s Munich office as an Associate in 2008. Previously, he spent two years in the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs in London, and prior to that he worked in several divisions of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt. Mr. Hofmann holds a Master’s Degree in Accounting and Finance and a BA in Business Administration from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.

Mr. Kestnbaum, based in New York City, joined the firm in 2006 and is currently a member of Vestar’s Diversified Industries and Business Services Groups. Previously, Mr. Kestnbaum was with JPMorgan’s Financial Sponsor Group. Mr. Kestnbaum holds a BA in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and is a graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall.

About Vestar Capital Partners

Vestar Capital Partners is a leading international private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments with $7 billion in assets under management. The firm targets companies in the U.S. and Europe with valuations of $250 million to $3 billion and operations in five key industry sectors: consumer/services, diversified industries, healthcare, media/communication, and financial services. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams, family owners or corporations in a creative, flexible and entrepreneurial way to build long-term franchise and enterprise value. Since the firm’s founding in 1988, the Vestar funds have completed more than 65 investments in companies with a total value of more than $30 billion. Vestar has operations in New York, Boston, Denver, Milan, Munich and Paris. For more information, please visit


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