Theodore L. Koenig, Class of 1983
Lawyer turned leader in middle-market financing
Theodore Koenig is the President, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Monroe Capital, a leading provider of senior and junior debt and equity co-investments to middle market companies. Prior to founding Monroe Capital in 2004, he was President, CEO and founder of Hilco Capital LP, a junior secured/mezzanine debt fund established in 2000 that arranged for an invested in more than 36 transactions between 2001 and 2004. Koenig began his career as an attorney at the law firm of Winston & Strawn, later moving to Holleb & Coff. There, he was a partner and co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Law, Mergers & Acquisitions and Business Finance groups, where he supervised and was responsible for structuring, negotiating and documenting acquisitions and sales of middle market companies, as well as representing the firm’s bank, financial institution and commercial finance clients in asset-based financing transactions for buyout, recapitalization and restructuring transactions.
Koenig often speaks to various business and financial organizations and has published numerous articles on topics such as the current environment for senior and junior secured debt, tranche B and mezzanine debt, structuring successful highly leveraged loan transactions and acquiring troubled companies. He serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council at the Kelley School of Business, on the Board of Overseers for Chicago-Kent College of Law and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Allendale School, a non-profit residential and educational facility for emotionally troubled children in the greater Chicago area.
What were you like as a law student?
I was probably a dichotomy. I was a good student, I got relatively good grades and had good friends. When it came to study, I studied. I also worked as a bartender and bouncer at a bar called the Hang Up in law school. Those late nights made the early morning classes a little tough for me.
What has been the greatest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
Growing a business and keeping people motivated. When you’re in a business and you’re growing a business particularly as an entrepreneur, I think the single greatest trait a leader can have is to keep people motivated. That’s not only day to day, but over the long term and in different business cycles. We went through a very difficult time in my business in 2008. Most of our competitors, banks, and finance companies failed. Coming in every day was hard, but I had to keep our staff, partners and lenders motivated. We had to see a goal and stay on the right page. We didn’t panic and had to stay focused.
What has been your greatest professional achievement?
I’ve built a great business. We have 9 offices now throughout the country and employ about 60 people. I’ve got a great family and a great group of people that I work with.
What was your favorite part of law school?
My favorite part of law school was enjoying the people. Many of my close friends in law school and we’re still close today. They’ve gone on to do great things- judges, politicians, business owners. It was a wonderful time to spend with those folks.
How did Chicago-Kent prepare you for your present success?
I think Chicago-Kent did a great job of preparing me as a businessman. It gave me a perspective of the law and being trained to think a certain way. I try to come at things from an analytical and practical front. I think the teachers are a combination of that.
How would you persuade a potential student to attend Chicago-Kent?
I would tell a student today to come to Chicago-Kent because it has a great academic tradition, wonderful professors, you have opportunities to work and get a great education. You’re in the heart of a very vibrant city. You’re going to be challenged. You’re in a wonderfully, technologically-fit location. It’s up to you from there. Work hard and dig in.