Richard Foote, Berkshire Capital Partner Who Led HF2, Dies at 50

Richard S. Foote, a chartered financial analyst specializing in mergers and acquisitions who led two “blank check” ventures for Berkshire Capital Securities LLC, has died. He was 50.

He died on April 25 of a heart attack while working, his wife, Suzanne Girard Foote, said yesterday in an interview. He lived in Manhattan with her and their three children.

Foote’s latest assignment for New York-based Berkshire Capital, which calls itself a “global boutique investment bank focused on M&A,” was leading Denver-based HF2 Financial Management Inc.

HF2, which trades on Nasdaq, is a so-called blank-check company, defined as “a development stage company that has no specific business plan or purpose.” Berkshire Capital created the company in 2012 to acquire other financial-services firms.

As president and chief executive officer, Foote played a key role in raising $190 million in capital for the venture, which has yet to announce an intended acquisition.

A partner at Berkshire Capital since 1994, he led a previous Berkshire Capital blank-check firm, Highbury Financial Inc., which in 2006 bought the 19 U.S. mutual funds of ABN Amro Holding NV, the largest Dutch bank, for $38.6 million.

Highbury sold the funds in 2010 to Affiliated Managers Group Inc. for $113.3 million in stock, giving its original shareholders a 27 percent internal rate of return on their investments, according to Berkshire Capital. Foote helped guide the purchase, the management of the funds from 2006 to 2010 and the sale to Affiliated.

Problem Solver

“Richard is -- it’s hard to use the past tense -- was very creative, extremely intelligent, so he understood things very quickly,” Bruce Cameron, president and CEO of Berkshire Capital, said yesterday in an interview. “He was very good at looking at something that was complex and coming up with possible solutions.”

Cameron, who already was chairman of HF2, succeeded Foote as CEO.

“Richard was one of the sharpest minds in the business and had a keen ability to structure complex transactions that benefited all parties,” Seymour Newman, HF2’s chief operating officer, said in a statement.

Richard Stuart Foote was born on May 28, 1963, in Washington, D.C., and attended school in Carmel Valley, California.

Home Life

His father, Edward Potter Foote, was a decorated combat pilot during World War II who rose to colonel in the U.S. Air Force and worked at the Pentagon, among other assignments. His mother, the former Marjorie Collins Matthews, was a graduate of George Washington University who worked at the U.S. Department of War during World War II, according to her 2010 death notice in the Monterey Herald.

Foote graduated from Harvard University in 1985 with a degree in economics and became a chartered financial analyst in 2000.

He began his career in the investment banking division at PaineWebber Inc. from 1985 to 1991, rising from analyst to vice president and specializing in mergers, acquisitions and the issuance of equity and debt securities.

He developed Berkshire Capital’s real-estate practice and helped lead its management of alternative assets.

Survivors include his wife, the former Suzanne Girard; three children, Thomas, James and Darcy; and his sister, Sally H. Foote.

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