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James Christopher LedaManaging Director

PPM America, Inc.

James C. Leda is a managing director in the Debt Restructuring Group at PPM America, Inc., which manages more than $100 billion as the North American investment division of Prudential plc. He is responsible for managing the firm’s distressed investments and has more than 17 years of industry experience dealing in distressed and high yield investments.

At PPM, James has represented his firm and its clients in a number of high-profile corporate restructurings, including Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual, General Motors, and Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation. He is currently a delegate to the Washington Mutual, Inc., Liquidating Trust Advisory Board and was a principal in the $2.9 billion sale of Pilgrim’s Pride to a subsidiary of JBS SA of Brazil.

James developed and leads PPM’s proprietary Comparative International Insolvency Regimes project, which encompasses analysis and monitoring of more than two dozen insolvency regimes in jurisdictions in which PPM invests, or may invest. He has managed investments through insolvency proceedings in numerous foreign jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Iceland.

James came to PPM in 2009 from Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., where he was vice president and senior high yield automotive analyst. In this role, he formulated, maintained, and communicated the firm’s investment recommendations and preferred trading strategies in the high yield/distressed automotive sector. His research was followed by more than 1,000 institutional clients in 25 countries, and he was frequently quoted in the press during the U.S. automotive industry downturn. Earlier in his career, James worked in Merrill’s London office, covering the European financial sector.

Before joining Merrill Lynch in 2000, James was a senior associate in the Corporate Recovery practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, from 1995 to 1999. There, he focused on restructurings primarily in the steel and retail sectors. Representative assignments included Ben Franklin Retail Stores, Acme Metals, Copperweld Steel, and Pittsburgh Food & Beverage.

James is a frequent panelist at distressed conferences, including the Renaissance American Management, Inc. and Beard Group Conference on Corporate Reorganizations, and conferences of the Turnaround Management Association and the William J. O’Neill Bankruptcy Institute. He was chair of the inaugural iGlobal Forum Distressed Debt Investing Summit and has been a guest lecturer at the University of Pittsburgh’s Katz Graduate School of Business. Most recently, he moderated a panel addressing international insolvency for the Credit Roundtable/Fixed Income Forum.

James completed his MBA, with a concentration in analytic finance, at the University of Chicago. He also completed the International Business Exchange Program at the Stockholm School of Economics. He has an undergraduate degree in Finance and Accounting, graduating magna cum laude, from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is a certified public accountant (currently inactive).

James was the IUP student trustee on the Council of Trustees from 1993 to 1995 and has served on the IUP Business Golf Classic advisory committee. He was a 1998 recipient of the IUP Young Alumni Ambassador Award, now called the Young Alumni Achievement Award.

Inducted Spring 2013

Updated 2013

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