Challenge Capital Partners Advisory Board

Challenge Capital Partners have access to an unrivalled global expertise network built up over more than thirty years. They can be drawn upon by the General Partners as required. Below is a selection of some of our partners.


Ambassador Hertell is a former United States Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He is the former CEO and Vice Chairman of Ponce Bank (NYSE), one of the largest publicly traded corporations in the Caribbean.

An attorney with more than 20 years experience in government, public affairs, and corporate and banking law, Ambassador Hertell was one of the founding partners of the third-largest full service law firm in Puerto Rico, Goldman, Antonetti, Ferraiuoli, Axtmayer & Hertell. From 1992-96, Ambassador Hertell was Managing Director for the Caribbean and Latin America at Black, Kelly, Scruggs & Healey, a government and public affairs company based in Washington, DC. From 1989 to 1991, he served as a director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York. In 1989, he served as a member of the Commission to Review U.S. Magistrates for Reappointment, U.S. Court for the District of Puerto Rico. Between 1982-84, Ambassador Hertell was a political and legal advisor to the Governor of Puerto Rico, as well as to the Attorney General, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of the Treasury of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.Ambassador Hertell holds a bachelor of arts degree from

Ambassador Hertell holds a bachelor of arts degree from Fordham University of New York and a juris doctorate degree from the University of Puerto Rico.


Dr. Banerjee is a Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the newly-formed CUNY Energy Institute, headquartered at City College, City University of New York (CUNY). Until March 2008, Professor Banerjee was at UC Santa Barbara, where he had been since 1980 and has served as Chairman of the department. Previously, he held appointments at UC Berkeley, McMaster University (Canada), and Atomic Energy of Canada (AECL) —ultimately serving as AECL’s Acting Director of Applied Science.

Dr. Banerjee is currently a member of the US Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), congressionally mandated to maintain oversight over nuclear power. Professor Banerjee also helped to establish several companies based on research collaborations including Metaheuristics LLC, Mindflash Technologies, and Gas Reaction Technologies Inc.

Prof. Banerjee also has served and serves as a consultant to several oil companies, including ExxonMobile (Houston), Shell (Amsterdam), Statoil (Stavanger), Det Norske Veritas (Oslo), Reliance (Mumbai) and ENI (Milano), as well as many chemical/pharma companies like Hoffmann LaRoche, Novartis and Novo Nordisk (Denmark).


Mr. McElwrath has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Far East Energy Corporation since October 2003. He has also been a Director since October 2003 and served as Chairman of the Board from October 2003 until January 2005.

Among numerous positions in the energy arena, Mr. McElwrath has served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy in the first Bush Administration, charged with development of the nation’s coal, oil, and gas policies and with management of $2.1 Billion in programs including the Clean Coal Program, the National Oil and Gas Research Program, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He also held positions as Director of the National Institute for Petroleum and Energy Research, as Director of British Petroleum’s outsourced exploration and production lab for the Americas and as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for the U. S. Department of Interior in the Reagan Administration. He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association.

Mr. McElwrath holds a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law, as well as a B.A. from the Plan II Honors Program at the University of Texas.


Mr. Lindemann founded Spanish radio broadcaster Mega Communications four years ago. The 20-station company is growing rapidly. Mr. Lindemann entered the New York market with the first Spanish all-news station, at 1380 AM.

Mr. Lindemann graduated from Amherst College.


Dr. Papathanasiou is currently an adviser to RAB Capital PLC, a London hedge fund. She has considerable experience in international cross border transactions involving shipping, real estate, energy, natural resources and mining. She has acted as counsel and adviser to a number of international projects and groups involved in mining, oil and gas, and renewable energies, in Greece, Europe and the Middle-East. Recent appointments are Legal Counsel for the Aerium Funds (JV between Fairfield, Greenwich and the group Leonard de Vinci/Wurrtember Hypo in Paris), General Counsel to Chelverton Group UK and Europe, Counsel to the Dubai Investment Group in London and Dubai.

She is a board member and environmental and governance adviser to International Consolidated Minerals, a UK based mining exploration and production company active in South America to be listed on AIM.

Dr. Papathanasiou has a Doctorate in International Environmental Law from the London School of Economics and a Masters of Philosophy in International and Comparative Law from the University of Paris-Sorbonne, France.


Mr. Richardson is a Partner of Lion Capital. Prior to founding Lion Capital, Mr. Richardson was a General Partner with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (“KKR”) where from 1994 to 2004 he helped establish KKR’s European business. From 1994 to 1998, he established and operated Glenisla, the European affiliate of KKR.He previously served in the investment banking division of Credit Suisse First Boston in London and New York, and began his career with Bain & Company. Mr. Richardson received his BA and MA from Oxford University.

He previously served in the investment banking division of Credit Suisse First Boston in London and New York, and began his career with Bain & Company.

Mr. Richardson received his BA and MA from Oxford University.


Mr. Sayn-Wittgenstein is Co-Founder of Scimitar Oryx Partners, a private equity resource fund based in Europe. Prior to co-founding Scimitar Oryx Partners, he was Senior Vice President at Renaissane Investment Management, where he helped to launch an Emerging Europe Hedge Fund. As part of the African Origination and Structuring team at Renaissance Capital, he focussed on Investment Banking, Real Estate as well as building Renaissance’s Middle Eastern operations. Prior to joining Renaissance, Mr. Sayn-Wittgenstein was a Senior Officer at EIM Group in London where he focussed on Family Offices and high net worth individuals. In 2004, Mr. Sayn-Wittgenstein joined EIM Group from Pictet & Cie where he was an Investment Manager in Private Clients and Global Custody.

Mr. Sayn-Wittgenstein currently serves on the Advisory Board of Armira Partners a private equity investment vehicle focussed on Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He if the Chairman of the Royal Society of Fellows, the premier professional cross-disciplinary society that educates, trains and certifies professionals in international tax, compliance, anti-money laundering and corporate and computer security. He is a member of the International Council of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Mr. Sayn-Wittgenstein studied European Business Administration (BAEBA) at the European Partnership of Business Schools and graduated from Hendon Business School specialising in Management and Marketing.


In 1994, Mr. Westergren founded his first company, Lateral Logic, in Montreal to develop complex simulation software primarily for specialized engineering and gaming applications. In 1998, Jussi sold Lateral Logic and in 2000 he usetup a second company, GameCluster, Oy, a distributed computing company based in Helsinki. GameCluster, Oy was sold in 2003 to Softbank. In 2001, Jussi launched Capacity Networks, based in the UK and Helsinki, which focuses on providing technology solutions to the leading games companies.

Mr. Westergren is a founding shareholder of SRC Associates GP (BVI) Limited, a holding company with diverse technology and research interests which owns all of the share capital of IPX Global Limited, a company that focuses on the commercialisation of IP in the field of molecular physics and shareholder in Oxray.

Mr. Westergren studied at McGill University in Canada, the University of Helsinki and Oxford University.