Kenin M. Spivak
Kenin M. Spivak, Chairman and CEO of SMI Group, SMIG and SMI Capital Markets and Chairman of SMI Advisors, is a highly regarded executive, entrepreneur, financier, author and attorney known for innovative leadership, sophisticated deal-making, understanding of financial markets and institutions, marketing expertise and “hands on” management.
Mr. Spivak has led multi-national companies with billions of dollars of worldwide sales and operations in more than 30 countries, including serving as CEO of a NewsCorporation affiliate, a wireless technology company and an investment banking firm, principal operating officer of major studio MGM/UA, founding chairman of the Paul Mitchell cosmetology schools and an officer and director of Merrill Lynch media and entertainment partnerships.
Mr. Spivak led, structured and negotiated more than $10 billion of completed complex transactions, including acquisitions, dispositions, combinations, divestitures, financings, restructurings, licensing and other ventures. He also led the development, financing, production, marketing and distribution of feature films and television series grossing more than $3 billion and the branding, marketing and sales of consumer products and services grossing many additional billions of dollars. He has selected and distributed Academy Award®-winning films and long-running television series and launched successful consumer brands and pioneering technologies.
Mr. Spivak is the founder, chairman and CEO of SMI Group LLC, which advises on strategy and management is a principal in U.S. and cross-border transactions. SMI Group’s senior professionals have completed more than $50 billion of transactions. Mr. Spivak also is a co-founder and a managing partner of HanoverWest-SMI LLC, a co-venture of HanoverWest LLC and an affiliate of SMI Group that focuses on opportunities in Africa. He also advises companies engaged in developing and licensing IP and technology for a broad range of uses.
Mr. Spivak is co-founder and chairman of Stratagem Studios Inc., a Canadian company that has obtained substantial financial commitments to acquire, build and operate film and television production studios and related services; founder and chairman of SMI Entertainment, which owns interests in the entertainment sector, including a film library distributed by CBS; and senior advisor to the Elite Football League of India, the exclusively sanctioned American-style football league in India.
Mr. Spivak has served as chairman, vice chairman, president, CEO, director and senior advisor for public and private companies in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East, primarily in advertising, banking, consumer products, education, energy, entertainment, financial services, food products, franchising, gaming, health and beauty, marketing, media, real estate and technology. He also has served as chairman of special litigation committees, testified as an expert on corporate governance and directed complex litigation. He was the longest-serving director of the prestigious RAND Corporation Center for Corporate Ethics and Governance, serving until its recent conclusion.
After starting his career as an attorney in Beverly Hills and New York, Mr. Spivak was named the senior officer for business affairs, marketing and distribution for Mobil Oil’s LCA/Highgate Pictures, then the leading New York-based network television production/distribution company. Mr. Spivak negotiated the sale of LCA/Highgate to New World Communications and then joined Merrill Lynch investment banking, where he specialized in mergers, acquisitions, complex financings and leveraged buy-outs. Mr. Spivak also served as an officer of investment and operating partnerships established by Merrill Lynch, including partnerships that financed feature films and operated broadcast stations and cable systems.
Billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian recruited Mr. Spivak from Merrill Lynch to revitalize major studio MGM/UA Communications. Mr. Spivak took MGM/UA to record worldwide revenues and then sold the company for nearly $2 billion. Revered entrepreneur Chris Blackwell then named Mr. Spivak the managing director of his film and television company, Island World. Mr. Spivak restored the company to profitability, created acclaimed films and secured financing and distribution, before selling the company for a considerable increase in value.
Renown financier Michael Milken then recruited Mr. Spivak to serve as CEO of Archon Communications. Mr. Spivak brought in Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorporation as an investor, acquired control of media companies, including industry-leader Premiere Radio Networks, guided the portfolio to success and then sold Premiere and Archon for a substantial profit. He next served as chairman of the independent directors’ committee of Metro Traffic Networks, the global leader in traffic and news reporting and directed that company’s sale to Viacom for $1.9 billion.
Mr. Spivak also acquired and led publishers Phoenix New Millennium and Knowledge Exchange. He produced motion pictures released by 20th Century Fox and animated DVD’s for children; he produced and hosted radio and television public affairs and talk series in New York City; wrote the thriller, The Karasik Conspiracy, served as chairman of the editorial board for The Knowledge Exchange Business Encyclopedia, distributed by Warner Books; and contributed to Larry King’s Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, a compendium of essays on the justice system.
In gaming, Mr. Spivak co-founded, served as co-managing partner and later sold the Philippines Dream casino in Cebu to a Hong Kong leisure company, advised Silicon Gaming which introduced the first digital slot machines and was instrumental in planning for the MGM Grand Hotels.
In marketing and consumer brands, Mr. Spivak led digital advertising agency, Snowball Media for clients such as Toyota, Wells Fargo, Southern California Edison and Sanyo; retail advertising agency Aquarius Promotions, with 30,000 supermarket-clients; and nutraceuticals pioneer Golden Era Beverages, taking the company from concept to distribution in 12 states and then selling the company for a substantial gain to private-equity firm Charterhouse Group. He was the long-time vice chairman of global hair care leader John Paul Mitchell Systems, founding chairman of the Paul Mitchell cosmetology schools which he helped build into the largest chain of cosmetology schools in the United States; and a director of the Seagrams/Patrón Tequila joint venture.
In technology, Mr. Spivak acquired a controlling interest in, and for more than a decade served as chairman and CEO of, Telemac Corporation, the pioneer in developing and commercializing network-edge real-time service control, accounting, billing and payment processing technologies for the wireless industry. Mr. Spivak led Telemac from losses, three patents, one licensed mobile phone and 25,000 analog customers in the United States, to more than 30 million digital customers worldwide; 88 patents and 124 patents-pending in 41 countries; offices in the USA, China and UK; wireless operators on six continents, including China Unicom, Cingular (now AT&T), Nextel, TracFone, O2, Sprint PCS, Telcel, and Vodacom; five of the six top mobile phone manufacturers; and three of the top four SIM manufacturers. Mr. Spivak then sold Telemac to one of its largest licensees.
At the request of former U.S. Treasury Secretary William E. Simon, Mr. Spivak also served as a special director and member of the executive committee of Western Federal Savings & Loan, a California-based $4 billion bank, helping to guide it through a nationwide banking crisis. He also served as vice chairman of NYSE-listed metals trading company, Diversified Industries and a publicly-traded nuclear medicine company.
Mr. Spivak was a member of the executive committee of the Beijing International University Task Force, formed by Chinese government education agencies and a member of the Los Angeles Committee on Foreign Relations. He is listed in Who’s Who in the West, America, Finance & Business and the World and is a voting member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Mr. Spivak received multiple patents for wireless technology inventions.
Mr. Spivak received an A.B., M.B.A. (marketing) and Juris Doctor from Columbia University, each with honors, completing all three degrees in six years. He is admitted to practice law in California, New York and U.S. federal courts and holds Series 22 (partnerships/direct participation programs), 24 (general securities principal), 63 (state law), 65 (investment advisor), 79 (investment banking) and 82 (private placements) U.S. securities licenses. Mr. Spivak is a U.S. citizen.