Board of Directors 2018-06-12T16:39:22+00:00

NextDecade Board of Directors

Kathleen Eisbrenner founded NextDecade in 2010 and from 2010 to February 2018 served jointly as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. On January 24, 2018, it was announced that Matt Schatzman would succeed Ms. Eisbrenner as President and CEO effective February 1, 2018. Ms. Eisbrenner remains as NextDecade’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Ms. Eisbrenner was formerly Executive Vice President at Royal Dutch Shell, where she was responsible for the management of the company’s global LNG portfolio and LNG trading business. Prior to Shell, Eisbrenner was the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Excelerate Energy, focused on developing the Floating Storage Regasification Unit (“FSRU”) vessel and industry. She also held various senior management positions at El Paso Energy. Eisbrenner is a member of the National Petroleum Council, American Bureau of Shipping, JERA’s Fuel Business Expert Advisory Board, and Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas, among others. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of Chesapeake Energy. Eisbrenner holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Notre Dame.

Matt joins NextDecade with nearly 30 years’ experience in the energy industry, including in senior executive roles with BG Group and Dynegy.  Matt’s unique contributions to the transformative growth of BG Group’s global LNG business as well as his recognized expertise as a strategic thinker with a keen execution focus makes him uniquely suited to steer NextDecade through to its final investment decision. Matt is responsible for advancing the core business priorities of NextDecade, building critical organizational infrastructure and driving commercial delivery as the Company evolves from the development phases of its Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline projects and into construction and operations. In addition to managing an international portfolio of LNG, shipping and commodity trading positions, Matt’s expertise extends to hedging, risk management and process improvement across a diverse portfolio of development and operating assets.

Matt graduated from Yale University with a BA in Political Science and has been an active member of several energy industry boards and associations.

René van Vliet has served as NextDecade’s Chief Operating Officer since July 2015 and has worked with the company since January 2012 as Chief Project Officer. Mr. van Vliet is responsible for developing midstream LNG solutions at NextDecade. Prior to his work at NextDecade, Mr. van Vliet worked at Shell International for almost 32 years, most recently as Vice President of Global LNG, Shell Gas & Power. He has been involved in LNG project development since 1992, overseeing activities on four continents. During his time at Shell, he was responsible for a global LNG project portfolio, including land-based LNG, floating LNG, regasification, and small-scale LNG. Mr. van Vliet holds a Master of Science degree in civil engineering from the Technical University of Eindhoven.

Brian Belke has served as a Director of NextDecade since June 2015. Mr. Belke is a Partner at Valinor Management, the investment manager of an equity long-short hedge fund with over $3 billion in assets under management, where he has worked since June 2010. Prior to Valinor Management, Mr. Belke was an Equity research Associate at Fidelity Investments. He is a CFA® Charterholder and is a member of the CFA Institute and the New York Society of Securities Analysts. Mr. Belke earned a B.S. in Management with concentrations in Finance and Accounting, Summa Cum Laude, from Boston College, and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, where he graduated with High Distinction as a Baker Scholar.

Matthew Bonanno joined York Capital Management in July 2010 and is a Partner of the Firm. Mr. Bonanno joined York Capital Management from the Blackstone Group where he worked as an Associate focusing on restructuring, recapitalization and reorganization transactions. Prior to joining the Blackstone Group, Mr. Bonanno worked on financing and strategic transactions at News Corporation and as an Investment Banker at JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Mr. Bonanno is currently a member of the Board, in his capacity as a York Capital Management employee, of Rever Offshore AS, and all entities incorporated pursuant to York Capital Management’s partnership with Costamare Inc. and Augustea Bunge Maritime, NextDecade and Vantage Drilling Co., Linn Energy Inc. and Samson Resources II, LLC. Mr. Bonanno received a B.A. in History from Georgetown University and an M.B.A in Finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Gallo is the founder, portfolio manager and managing partner of Valinor Management, the investment manager of an equity long-short hedge fund with over $3 billion in assets under management, where he has worked since July 2007. Prior to founding Valinor, Mr. Gallo was a senior analyst at Bridger Capital and worked at investment firms including Tiger Management, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and the Blackstone Group. Mr. Gallo received his BS in economics, summa cum laude, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from Harvard Business School, where he graduated as a Baker Scholar.

Avinash Kripalani has served as a Director of NextDecade since April 2016. Mr. Kripalani is a Principal at Halcyon Capital Management, where he has worked since 2008. Prior to Halcyon, he was a Consultant at IBM. Mr. Kripalani earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, a Bachelor of Science in Systems and Information Engineering and Master of Science in Systems and Information Engineering from the University of Virginia.

David Magid joined York Capital Management in July 2013 and is a Vice President of the Firm. Prior to joining York Capital Management, he worked at Credit Suisse as an Analyst in Leveraged Finance, Origination, & Restructuring. Mr. Magid received an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School and a B.A. in Economics and Politics from Brandeis University.

Eric S. Rosenfeld has served as Harmony’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer since its inception. Mr. Rosenfeld served as Quartet Merger Corp.’s chairman of the board and chief executive officer from its inception in April 2013 until its merger with Pangea Logistics Solutions Ltd. in October 2014, and has served as a director of Pangaea since such time. Mr. Rosenfeld was chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Trio Merger Corp. from its inception in June 2011 until its merger with SAExploration Holdings Inc. in June 2013 and has served as a director of SAE since such time. Mr. Rosenfeld has been the president and chief executive officer of Crescendo Partners, L.P., a New York-based investment firm, since its formation in November 1998. He has also been the senior managing member of Crescendo Advisors II LLC, the entity providing Harmony with general and administrative services, since its formation in August 2000. From April 2006 until July 2008, Mr. Rosenfeld served as the chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of Rhapsody Acquisition Corp., an OTCBB-listed blank check company. Rhapsody completed its business combination in July 2008 with Primoris Corporation and changed its name to Primoris Services Corporation and is now listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market. Mr. Rosenfeld served as a director of that company from the completion of its business combination in July 2008 until May 2014.

From its inception in April 2004 until June 2006, he was the chairman of the board, chief executive officer and president of Arpeggio, an OTCBB-listed blank check company. Arpeggio completed its business combination in June 2006 with Hill International, now listed on the NYSE. Mr. Rosenfeld served as a director of Hill International from the time of the business combination until June 2010. Mr. Rosenfeld is currently chairman of the board of CPI Aerostructures, Inc. a NYSE MKT-listed company engaged in the contract production of structural aircraft parts principally for the U.S. Air Force and other branches of the U.S. armed forces. He became a director in April 2003 and chairman in January 2005. Mr. Rosenfeld has also served on the board of Cott Corporation, a NYSE-listed beverage company, since June 2008. Since December 2012, Mr. Rosenfeld has been a board member of Absolute Software Corporation, a Toronto Stock Exchange listed provider of security and management for computers and ultra-portable devices.

Prior to forming Crescendo Partners, Mr. Rosenfeld had been managing director at CIBC Oppenheimer and its predecessor company Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. since 1985. He was also chairman of the board of Spar Aerospace Limited, a company that provides repair and overhaul services for aircraft and helicopters used by governments and commercial airlines, from May 1999 through November 2001, until its sale to L-3 Communications. He served as a director of Hip Interactive, a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company that distributed and developed electronic entertainment products, from November 2004 until July 2005. Mr. Rosenfeld also served as a director of AD OPT Technologies Inc., which was a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company from April 2003 to November 2004, when it was acquired by Kronos Inc. Mr. Rosenfeld also served as a director and head of the special committee of Pivotal Corporation, a Canadian-based customer relations management software company that was sold to Chinadotcom in February 2004. He was a director of Sierra Systems Group, Inc., a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed information technology, management consulting and systems integration firm based in Canada from October 2003 until its sale in January 2007. From October 2005 through March 2006, Mr. Rosenfeld was a director of Geac Computer Corporation Limited, a Toronto Stock Exchange and NASDAQ-listed software company, which was acquired by Golden Gate Capital. He was also a director of Emergis Inc., a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company that enables the electronic processing of transactions in the finance and healthcare industries, from July 2004 until its sale to Telus Corporation in January 2008. Mr. Rosenfeld also served on the board of Matrikon Inc. a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed provider of solutions for industrial intelligence, from July 2007 until its sale to Honeywell International, Inc. in June 2010. He was also a member of the board of Dalsa Corporation, a Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company that designs and manufactures digital imaging products, from February 2008 until its sale to Teledyne in February 2011. From October 2005 until its final liquidation in December 2012, he was the chairman of the board of Computer Horizons Corp., quoted on the OTCBB, that, before the sale of the last of its operating businesses in February 2007 (at which time it was NASDAQ-listed), provided information technology professional services with a concentration in sourcing and managed services.

Mr. Rosenfeld is a regular guest lecturer at Columbia Business School and has served on numerous panels at Queen’s University Business Law School Symposia, McGill Law School, the World Presidents’ Organization and the Value Investing Congress. He is a senior faculty member at the Director’s College. He has also been a regular guest host on CNBC. Mr. Rosenfeld received an A.B. in economics from Brown University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

David D. Sgro, CFA, has served as Harmony’s chief operating officer and secretary since its inception and as a director from 2014 to 2016. Mr. Sgro served as Quartet’s chief financial officer, secretary and a member of its board of directors from April 2013 until its merger with Pangaea in October 2014 and has served as a director of Pangaea since such time. Mr. Sgro served as Trio’s chief financial officer, secretary, and a member of its board of directors from its inception in June 2011, until its merger with SAE in June 2013 and served as a director of SAE from that time through July 2016. From April 2006 to July 2008, Mr. Sgro served as the chief financial officer of Rhapsody and from July 2008 to May 2011, Mr. Sgro served as a director of Primoris. Mr. Sgro has been a Senior Managing Director of Crescendo Partners, L.P. since December 2014, and has held numerous positions with Crescendo Partners since December 2005. Mr. Sgro also currently serves on the board of Imvescor Restaurant Group, a TSX listed restaurant franchisor; Hill International Inc., a NYSE listed construction project management firm; and BSM Technologies, Inc., a TSX listed GPS enabled fleet management service provider. Mr. Sgro served on the board of Bridgewater Systems, Inc., a TSX listed telecommunications software company, from June 2008 until its sale to Amdocs in August 2011.

Mr. Sgro served on the board of directors of COM DEV International Ltd., a global designer and manufacturer of space hardware from April 2013 to February 2016. From August 2003 to May 2005, Mr. Sgro attended Columbia Business School. From June 1998 to May 2003, he worked as an analyst and then senior analyst at Management Planning, Inc., a firm engaged in the valuation of privately held companies. Simultaneously, Mr. Sgro worked as an associate with MPI Securities, Management Planning, Inc.’s boutique investment banking affiliate.

Mr. Sgro received a B.S. in Finance from The College of New Jersey and an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School. In 2001, he became a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder. Mr. Sgro is a regular guest lecturer at The College of New Jersey and Columbia Business School.

William Vrattos has served as a Director of NextDecade since June 2015. Mr. Vrattos joined York Capital Management in January 2002 and is a Partner of the Firm. Mr. Vrattos is a Co-Portfolio Manager of the York Credit Opportunities, York European Distressed Credit and York Global Credit Income funds and a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. From 1997 to 2002, he worked at Georgica Advisors LLC as a Portfolio Manager specializing in media and communications equities and distressed securities. From 1995 to 1997, he rejoined Morgan Stanley & Co., Inc. as an investment banker, where he worked for two years prior to attending business school. Mr. Vrattos is currently a member of the Board of Directors or Advisory Board, as applicable and in his capacity as a York Capital Management employee, of (i) all entities related to Entropy Investments, (ii) all entities incorporated pursuant to York Capital Management’s partnerships with Costamare Inc. and Augustea Bunge Maritime, (iii) NextDecade LLC, and (iv) India 2020. In addition, he serves on the Board of Trustees of The Buckley School, the Board of Trustees of Groton School, the Board of the Museum of the City of New York and is a member of the Investment Committee of the Dartmouth College Endowment. Mr. Vrattos received a B.A. in English from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Mr. Wells co-founded Drivetrain Advisors, LLC, a firm providing fiduciary services to the alternate investment community, in December 2013, where he currently serves as a Partner. Most recently, Mr. Wells was employed by TPG Special Situations Partners from 2010 to 2013, where he first served as Partner from September 2010 to January 2012, and then as a Senior Advisor from January 2012 to July 2013. Mr. Wells also served as a Partner/Portfolio Manager for Silverpoint Capital from September 2002 to July 2009. Prior to joining Silverpoint Capital, Mr. Wells served as a Director at the Union Bank of Switzerland from May 2001 to September 2002 and as a Vice President of Deutsche Bank AG from January 1999 to May 2001. Mr. Wells currently serves on the boards of directors of Roust Corporation, Samson Resources II, LLC, Lily Robotics, Inc., Vantage Drilling International, Town Sports International Holdings, Inc., Preferred Proppants LLC, and Advanced Emissions Solutions, Inc.

For more information on NextDecade Corporation’s corporate governance and committee membership, click here.