- Saturday March 25, 2023
Chris has more than 20 years of financial advisory, commercial banking and private capital experience, spanning a broad range of industries and transaction types with a primary focus on middle market companies.
Immediately prior to joining Peninsula Capital Partners, Chris was a Vice President at BMO Harris Bank in Chicago. At BMO Chris executed both asset-based and cash flow loans in support of middle-market and large corporate borrowers in connection with leveraged transactions and relationship lending. Before BMO, Chris was an Analyst with a Chicago-based boutique investment bank Cochran Caronia Waller where he focused on M&A advisory and valuation services. Chris started his career with Bank One in Detroit and completed the Bank’s credit training program.
Chris received his BA with Honor from Michigan State University and his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is a member of the CFA Institute. In his free time Mr. Gessner enjoys spending time with his family, golf and a variety of outdoor fitness activities.
From the very beginning, we have had a very collaborative and enjoyable partnership with Peninsula. We built camaraderie through challenges that could stress relationships. We have had numerous complicated issues to resolve and they continue to help us find solutions. Their team brings a very desirable combination of experience, skills, and integrity. Our team has really enjoyed the partnership and we look forward to working together for many years to come.”
It has been a pleasure to work with the people at Peninsula. During good times, they have been supportive of our growth. When our business faced challenging economic times, their trust in our management team, financial support and willingness to adjust our capital structure helped to navigate to a stable and healthy position. Peninsula’s strong bank relationships are a key element to our business’ success.”
To find a partner that shared our passion was a prerequisite that we thought we’d struggle to find, but from the get go Peninsula showed a real understanding and empathy for our business and the people within it. We’re over a year in and we’re delighted with our decision and remain firmly on track to achieve our ambitious long-term goals.”
Partnering with Peninsula has been one of the best decisions we have made thus far as an independent sponsor. The team is highly disciplined, applies strong analytics and consistently displays a high level of integrity. Through good times and bad, Peninsula has proven to be a valuable partner, providing solid guidance and support to management teams and independent sponsors alike. While risk mitigation is always front and center, Peninsula is adept at finding smart and creative ways to help companies grow while maintaining a strong and vibrant work culture for employees to thrive.”
When we sold our company to Peninsula, I had many questions, and some anxiety, about how we would be treated post-deal. Seven years later, all of those questions have been answered. It could not be a more fulfilling (and successful) partnership.”
Peninsula has been an invaluable partner for Weave. Of the various capital partners we considered, Peninsula treated us like a true partner throughout the process, engaging in honest and transparent dialog. Post transaction, the Peninsula team continued to be aligned and cooperative partners, helping to professionalize the financials, inserting new management, and securing a larger warehouse. As a capital provider, Peninsula is singular in its understanding of, and flexibility in, working with independent sponsors.”
Over the past seven years, Peninsula Capital Partners has been instrumental in supporting the Burlington team’s transition from a small unsophisticated company to a global leader in the radiation protection industry. They have supported us through early challenges, led our strategic acquisition efforts, and they continue to act as an extension of our management team. In doing so, they understand our business and have embraced our company vision. We deeply appreciate the investment Peninsula Capital Partners has made in upgrading our manufacturing and computer technologies, but their most valuable contributions have been their partnership, support, and guidance.”
In my experience, strategic alignment of stakeholders is the most critical element of success for a private equity-backed business. The Peninsula team does a fantastic job of communicating with management to ensure such alignment. They create a true partnership, striking an ideal balance between guidance and autonomy, and have proven to be extremely skillful in creating the right environment for growth.”
We represented a client who had recently closed a transaction with Peninsula. It has been our experience that cultural fit is an important ingredient of a successful transaction. Our client had an instant connection with the Peninsula team, which carried all the way through negotiations, due diligence and the inevitable complexities that emerge in any transaction. The unique deal structure proposed by Peninsula was a compelling value proposition for our client and we look forward to their shared future success.”
Over the last several years, we have faced a unique challenge caused by COVID. When an industry experiences these types of shocks, all aspects of your business are tested, including key financial partnerships. During times of risk, most financial partners will look for ways to tighten controls and restrict how a company operates. James Illikman and Peninsula took a different approach and looked at the longer-term opportunity and invested the time and resources into making the business stronger.”
Chris Gessner and Peninsula have been our go-to capital partner for years now. Their ability and desire to work through difficult and challenging deal issues sets them apart from other capital partners. Chris is flexible and creative in negotiations with both sellers and independent sponsors and is transparent throughout the deal process.”
I strongly recommend that you consider Peninsula Capital as your business partner. Together, we have done so much more than I could have possibly done alone. They have guided my team and provided insight and resources which we’ve used to increase the value of my company substantially! My only regret is that I did not contact them earlier in the development of my company because I am having fun and attaining outstanding success by working with Peninsula Capital. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions related to this partnership with Peninsula Capital Partners.”