By Nick Brown
NEW YORK Feb 5 Jack Butler, a prominent
bankruptcy attorney who played an instrumental role in American
Airlines' merger with U.S. Airways Group, is leaving law firm
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom to become an executive at
Hilco Global, a financial services company with a broad range of
Butler, for decades a fixture in some of the most
contentious bankruptcy negotiations, will join Hilco as an
executive vice president beginning on May 1, Hilco said in an
internal memo it released on Wednesday.
A veteran bankruptcy lawyer, the 57-year-old Butler helped
build Skadden's restructuring practice when he joined the firm
in 1990. He showed no regrets about leaving a powerhouse he
"When you're a founder of a practice, you always believe on
one level, your work is never done. But you also plan for
succession," Butler said in an interview on Wednesday. He
praised Skadden leaders who remain in place, saying he was
"bullish" about the firm's future.
While Hilco is known in the bankruptcy world for acquiring
and liquidating insolvent companies, its work is much broader,
and Butler said his role will stretch across all of Hilco's 20
businesses, including private equity, advisory work and
Still, the objective to maximize value for stakeholders -
which "my whole career has been about," Butler said - remains
"That's what Hilco is all about," Butler said. "Part of its
core mission is helping companies find value and drive it."
The difference is that Butler, who has four young children,
will get the chance to benefit from the value he helps create as
a senior principal at Hilco, reporting to its chief executive
officer and his longtime friend, Jeffrey Hecktman.
Hilco's private equity arm owns brands like Halston, a
fashion label, and British entertainment retailer HMV.
Butler most recently represented the official creditors'
committee of American Airlines when the carrier went bankrupt in
2011. With fellow Skadden partner Jay Goffman, Butler set the
agenda in the case, in which American resolved years of bitter
labor disputes with unionized workers and then agreed to merge
with U.S. Airways to create American Airlines Group, the
world's biggest airline.
He also helped lead the restructuring of auto parts supplier
Delphi, which went bankrupt during struggles to
diversify its business after it was spun off by General Motors
Butler reflected on the economic importance of Delphi,
saying that, had it failed to survive, it might have triggered a
"Had the people working on that case not found a solution,
you're talking about the failures of thousands of other
suppliers, and I believe there would have been a depression in
this country," Butler said.