November 28, 2016 / 7:40 PM / a year ago

Hudson Executive Capital Co-Founder Woolery resigns

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Veteran dealmaker James Woolery, co-founder of Hudson Executive Capital, resigned from the firm less than a year after it made its first investment, the activist fund said on Monday.

Woolery, who previously worked at JPMorgan Chase & Co and law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore, resigned for personal reasons, effective immediately, Hudson Executive said in a statement.

The statement came after Reuters broke the news of Woolery’s departure.

Hudson Executive Capital thanked Woolery for his role in the firm’s launch and said it was “well-positioned to continue to execute on our investment strategy.”

Woolery co-founded the firm with another veteran JPMorgan dealmaker, Doug Braunstein. The two solidified their plans for the firm over hamburgers at Braunstein’s Hudson Valley home, and officially launched in January 2015. A year later, the firm disclosed its first investment: a 5 percent stake in HeartWare International, a heart valve maker.

Six months later, HeartWare agreed to be bought by Medtronic Inc. for $1.1 billion, an announcement that doubled HeartWare’s stock price on the day. It was one of several companies in Hudson Executive’s portfolio that struck a deal after the firm’s investment [ID:nL3N1CC3H2].

Woolery’s departure happened on friendly terms, with Braunstein buying out his partner’s ownership interest in the firm, according to people familiar with the matter.

Hudson Executive Capital’s launch created a lot of buzz on Wall Street and across the activist hedge fund sphere, given both Braunstein and Woolery’s high-profile M&A reputation and their “constructivist” model.

Unlike a traditional activist hedge fund that loudly agitates for changes to a company under the threat of replacing board members, Hudson Executive set out to work collaboratively with management teams, without the threat of a proxy fight.

The firm enlisted 14 current and former chief executives as co-founders and co-investors in the fund when it launched, raising $250 million.

Woolery could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reporting by Michael Flaherty; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and David Gregorio

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