Advisory Board

MCP’s Advisory Board advises the Managing Principals on firm policy, investment strategy, conflicts of interest resolution and will provide additional judgment and direction to the overall activities of MCP. Biographies for the members of the Advisory Board are as follows:

Franklin McLarty

Franklin H. McLarty is the Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of MCP, and the Chairman of the Advisory Board of MCP's Small Business Fund. Mr. McLarty has substantial experience as an operator of and an investor in U.S. small businesses. Mr. McLarty is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Board member of RML Automotive, the McLarty Companies' U.S. partnership with Robert L. Johnson and The RLJ Companies. Franklin McLarty has been directly involved in all aspects of the company’s growth into one of the nation’s largest automotive retailers, with particular focus on the screening, negotiation, structuring, and financing of numerous small business acquisitions over the past decade.

Mr. McLarty was appointed by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (“AEDC”) in 2007 and served on the AEDC until his appointment expired in 2011, including serving his final year as its chairman. The AEDC provides loan guarantees to small Arkansas businesses to enhance their ability to grow and create jobs. Prior to his roles at RML Automotive and AEDC, Mr. McLarty spent five years in real estate private equity, working for both the McKibbon Hotel Group and the Seaway Group. Mr. McLarty holds an MBA, with a concentration in international business, from the University of Miami.

Nelson Cunningham

Mr. Cunningham is president and a co-founder of McLarty Associates. Prior to co-founding McLarty Associates in 1998, Mr. Cunningham served in the White House as special advisor to President Clinton on Western Hemisphere affairs and as general counsel at the White House Office of Administration. He previously served as general counsel of the Senate Judiciary Committee, under then-Chairman Joseph R. Biden, focusing on constitutional, judicial, and criminal justice matters. Before moving to Washington, Mr. Cunningham served as an assistant United States attorney in the Southern District of New York from 1988 until 1994, under Rudolph Giuliani. He was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Team, an advisor during the 2008 presidential campaign and was a foreign policy and trade advisor to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. Mr. Cunningham is a magna cum laude graduate of Yale College and Stanford Law School, where he served as an editor of the Stanford Law Review.

​Mark Solow

Mr. Solow is a private investor and a senior advisor to Crystal Ridge Partners and Alston Capital Partners, middle market private equity firms. He currently serves as a director of both OceanFirst Bank, a commercial bank located in Toms River, NJ, and its holding company. Previously, Mr. Solow served on the board of directors of Central Jersey Bank, N.A. and its holding company from their inception in 1998 until their sale in 2010. Mr. Solow is a co-founder, and prior to his retirement in 2005 was a managing partner, of GarMark Partners, a middle market private equity and debt investment firm. Prior to GarMark, Mr. Solow was a senior executive vice president at Chemical Banking Corporation (a predecessor institution to JP Morgan Chase) and a member of its twelve person management committee. During his career at Chemical Banking Corporation from 1973 until his retirement in 1994, he served in several capacities, including head of global investment banking and head of corporate and multi-national banking in North America, Western Europe, and Asia. He was also responsible for Chemical Venture Partners (CVP), the corporation's equity investment company. In addition, he was the senior credit officer for the United States, Canada, Western Europe, and Asia. Mr. Solow earned an MBA degree and BS degree from Bowling Green University.

Lisa Wardell

Ms. Wardell is chief operating officer of The RLJ Companies, a diversified holding company with portfolio companies in consumer financial services, asset management, real estate and hospitality. Prior to joining The RLJ Companies, Ms. Wardell was a Principal at Katalyst Venture Partners, a private equity firm that invested in start-up technology companies in the media and communications industries. Prior to Katalyst, Ms. Wardell worked as a senior consultant for Accenture in the communications and technology services practice. Ms. Wardell earned her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and her law degree from Stanford Law School. She earned her master’s degree in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, Ms. Wardell was named by Automotive News as one of the “100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry” and by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the “75 Most Powerful Women in Business”.

Shad Azimi

Mr. Azimi is a Managing Partner and the Founder of Vanterra Capital LLC, global private equity firm that manages assets for a diverse investor base of ultra-high net worth partners and leading institutions. Mr. Azimi has over fourteen years of global private equity investment experience. Prior to founding Vanterra Capital, he was a Principal at NYL Capital, a $9 billion private equity program sponsored by New York Life Investment Management and third-party institutional investors. His primary role was to identify, evaluate, and execute investment opportunities for the firm’s fund investment program and direct investment funds. Mr. Azimi also created and led the “Small and Emerging Manager Program,” an initiative designed to build specialized and emerging private equity funds in the U.S., Europe, and Emerging Markets. Prior to that, Mr. Azimi was an Associate at Lightyear Capital, a multi-billion dollar control-oriented private equity fund as well as an Associate in the private equity group of UBS/PaineWebber Capital. Mr. Azimi began his career as an investment banking Analyst at PaineWebber, Inc. Mr. Azimi received his B.S. with dual concentrations in Finance and International Business with Honors from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. He earned his MBA as a Beta Gamma Sigma graduate from Columbia Business School.Mr. Azimi currently serves as a board member for Vanterra TEM Capital, Cressey & Company Healthcare Fund, BTG Pactual Brazil Investment Fund, Jacob Ballas India Fund, TERRECON Inc., and Vantem Composite Technologies LLC. Mr. Azimi is also a term member for the Council of Foreign Relations.