Theodore L. Koenig
2021 Inductee, Monroe Capital LLC
Theodore L. Koenig is president, CEO and founder of Monroe Capital LLC. Mr. Koenig also serves as the chairman, president and CEO of Monroe Capital Corporation (NASDAQ: MRCC), a publicly traded business development company (BDC); and as chairman, director and CEO of Monroe Capital Income Plus Corporation. He also serves as chairman, CEO and a director of MCAP Acquisition Corporation (NASDAQ: MACQU), a special-purpose acquisition corporation. Koenig has over 30 years of experience in structuring, negotiating and closing transactions on behalf of asset-based lenders, commercial finance companies, financial institutions and private equity investors. Prior to Monroe, Koenig was president and CEO of Hilco Capital LP, a junior secured/mezzanine debt fund established in 2000. Koenig spent the previous 13 years at the Chicago-based law firm of Holleb & Coff as partner and co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Finance groups. He is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University (B.S.) in accounting with high honors and Chicago-Kent College of Law (J.D.) with honors.
What advice would you offer to someone just starting out in the industry?
Focus on the small details. The asset-based lending industry is premised on the assumption of collateral existing and having value. This is not a big picture industry or business. Very often, people new to the industry do not fully understand the need for verification and valuation. Taking a loan loss early in one’s career due to inaccurate reporting or a lack of attention to detail such as inventory counts is a painful way to learn this lesson.
What are some of the most memorable moments of your career?
Creating long-term and lasting business relationships and friendships with those in the industry. Once people develop an expertise and experience in asset-based lending, they tend to stay in the industry and build long-term careers. Through those long-term careers, friendships and special relationships are built with co-workers and competitors alike. One day you may be competing with someone head-to-head, and the next day you could very easily end up working for them. It happens often, in fact. That dynamic creates a sense of cooperation and decency among competing firms. Very few industries share this attribute.
What role did SFNet play in your career development?
Watching, working with, and learning this business from the very best; people like Bill Davis, Larry Marsiello, Pete Schwab, Scott Diehl, Mike Sharkey, and many others who were all leaders of SFNet and its predecessor organization, the CFA. They were the all-stars who brought a level of creativity and thought to a simple and straightforward formula asset-lending business.
Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention the annual SFNet conventions and the related social functions. In the old days, the convention parties were often more fun than the annual business portions of the conventions. That is the reason many people attended these conventions. I would imagine as much thought and time was put into organizing those parties as went into the programming for the speaking portions of the convention.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I started my career as a lawyer representing the industry. My early clients were Foothill, CIT, Congress Financial, LaSalle Bank, American National Bank, FINOVA, Cole Taylor Bank, Bank Boston, Fleet Financial, and other lenders who, like the aforementioned, except for CIT, no longer exist today. Those early days allowed me to work with the leading minds and players in the industry. They taught me how to compete and win deals as well as how to structure transactions in the most thoughtful and creative manner. I used that knowledge and expertise to create and build our firm, Monroe Capital. Today, we use many of the ABL principles of verification and valuation in our private credit business that I learned in my early days of asset-based lending. We like our underwriting team members to have experience and some background in asset-based lending. We think it makes them better and more effective professionals.