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Andrew Shapiro is Founder, President and Portfolio Manager of Lawndale Capital Management, an investment advisor that has managed activist hedge funds focused on small- and micro-cap companies for over 24 years, one of the longest periods of experience deploying an activist/relational investment strategy today. Mr. Shapiro’s engaged ownership approach has been effective in directly creating and unlocking shareholder value in Lawndale’s portfolio companies and has contributed to Lawndale’s activist funds often being ranked among the top event-driven and small-cap value funds in peer databases for long-term performance. In addition to leading Lawndale, Mr. Shapiro has also served as a Director or Observer on portfolio company boards and debt and equity bankruptcy committees. He is presently Chairman of the Official Equity Committee in the Premier Exhibitions/RMS Titanic bankruptcy and Board Secretary and Investment Committee Chair of the Mill Valley Library Foundation, on whose board he has served for many years. Mr. Shapiro is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and, via Lawndale, has been a long-time Sustaining Member of the Council of Institutional Investors (CII).
Mr. Shapiro has more than two decades of portfolio management and analytically varied experience from a number of buy-side positions, employing a rare combination of credit, legal, equity and workout skills. Prior to founding the Lawndale organization in 1992, Mr. Shapiro managed the workout and restructuring of large portfolios of high-yield bonds, distressed equities and risk arbitrage securities for the Belzberg family's entity, First City Capital. Before joining First City, Mr. Shapiro was involved in numerous corporate acquisition and recapitalization transactions for both Manufacturers Hanover Trust and the Spectrum Group, a private equity firm.
Mr. Shapiro received dual JD and MBA degrees from UCLA, where he was an Olin Fellow at the UCLA School of Law and a Venture Capital Fellow at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, and a BS in Business Administration from UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business, where he periodically guest lectures.
Mr. Shapiro was selected to the 2012 NACD Directorship 100, a list of the most influential leaders in the boardroom and corporate governance community. He is often quoted on matters of corporate governance, fiduciary duty and activist investing and has been the subject of several articles, including a Business Week article calling him “The Gary Cooper of Governance”. Mr. Shapiro has been a frequent speaker/panelist on corporate governance and activist investing issues to the Council of Institutional Investors, National Association of Corporate Directors, Society For Corporate Governance, SEC Advisory Committee on Small Public Companies and the National Investor Relations Institute. Mr. Shapiro is on the faculty of UCLA Anderson’s Corporate Governance/Director Education Program and has presented at the Director’s education programs of Stanford Law School, the Wisconsin Business School and Yale’s Millstein Center for Corporate Governance, among others. Mr. Shapiro is a Contributing Author to Seeking Alpha.
Mr. Shapiro started Lawndale’s funds in 1993 with only $188,000 under management and through performance and added capital has grown the firm’s managed assets substantially. Lawndale applies a private equity approach through active and relational ownership of public company securities. In most investments, Lawndale plays a constructive relational role by actively working with boards and management teams to help them achieve their strategic and operating goals. In other instances, Lawndale is a direct value-unlocking catalyst, utilizing a range of tools that include aggressively promoting improvements in a company's governance and operational structures, proxy actions, asserting shareowner’s legal rights and taking active roles in restructuring and buyout proposal negotiations.