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Irwin Gold

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Irwin Gold
🏳️ NationalityAmerican
🏫 EducationDuke University University of Virginia School of Law
💼 Occupation
TitleExecutive Chairman of Houlihan Lokey

Irwin Gold is an American businessman who is the Executive Chairman of Houlihan Lokey, Inc. In 1988, he co-founded Houlihan Lokey’s Financial Restructuring Group and has since led many of the Group’s largest, most complex financial restructuring engagements, both in bankruptcy and out-of-court.[1]


Gold holds a B.A. in Economics, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University, as well as a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.[2]


In Gold's early career, he spent three years as a lawyer in the corporate department of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, and in 1985, he became a senior officer at Wood Bros. Homes, a Denver-based real estate and mortgage banking company. He helped negotiate a workout and sale of the company and acted as its Vice President and Director of Corporate Finance. Following Wood Bros., in 1986, Gold became a Principal of the Seneca Group, an investment banking and financial advisory firm.[3]

Two years later, in 1988, he joined Houlihan Lokey, where he co-founded the firm's Financial Restructuring Group and acted as its global Co-Head for almost 30 years. Following decades of specializing in corporate restructuring,[4] Gold became Executive Chairman of the firm on April 17, 2013.[2] Under Gold's guidance, Houlihan Lokey filed for its initial public offering in 2015 (NYSE: HLI).[5]

Restructuring deals[edit]

Gold, along with his fellow senior executives, have been responsible for some of the largest restructuring deals in U.S. corporate history, including Enron, Lehmann Brothers, General Motors, CIT Group, and WorldCom.[6]

In 2002, Gold was a primary advisor in the restructuring of WorldCom. With debt of $40 billion, it was the largest Chapter 11 filing in U.S. history.[1][7] By 2004, the company emerged from bankruptcy under the name MCI.[8]

In 2005, Gold led the restructuring process of Delta Air Lines after the company announced it would be targeting an additional $3 billion per year in expense reductions by 2007. It was announced that $970 million in savings was to come from debt relief, lease and facility savings, and previously commenced fleet modifications. A very small percentage of staff was cut as part of the cost savings to allow the airline to remain viable.[9] The restructuring and new initiatives that were introduced meant Delta would return to profitability by late 2007.[10]

In 2009, Gold also led Houlihan Lokey in its restructuring of Charter Communications, reducing debt by $8 billion and raising $3.3 billion of additional capital. A year later, in 2010, Charter Communications was relisted on the NASDAQ.[11]

In 2010, Gold and Houlihan Lokey managed the restructuring of MGM through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan that restructured more than $4 billion in debt.[12] During the same year, Gold restructured the $4 billion debt load of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a global leader in educational content services.[13]

Media commentary[edit]

In an interview with Bloomberg in 2018, Gold spoke about the industry-wide issue of retaining young talent. He suggested that young financial professionals should be offered more job enrichment and client-facing opportunities, which he believed encouraged talent to stay at one firm for a longer period of time.[14]

In 2018, he again spoke with Bloomberg about the next cycle of material financial distress. He hoped that the triggers would not lead to a similar lack of liquidity in the markets as witnessed during the financial crisis of 2008–2009. Gold believed that disruptive innovation and globalization in some industries had meant a number of major corporations were more directly affected by new entrants into particular markets than they were 30 years ago.[15] He also believed that political turmoil and geopolitical issues could eventually be external factors that have deeper effects on markets, with Italy being a prime example,[16] and that this change in market conditions could lead to an increase in restructuring. In an interview with Business Insider, Gold stated, "When you have highly leveraged companies and even a modest rise in interest rates, that can result in an increase in restructuring activity."[17]

In March 2020, Gold spoke with Bloomberg’s Sonali Basak to discuss the financial markets during COVID-19, how this crisis differs from others, and what the country can expect to see going forward. He commented that he expects a spike in defaults as a recession may be imminent as a result of the pandemic.[18]

Most recently, in October 2020, Gold spoke with Bloomberg Business as part of the special report “2020 Year of Crisis: The Credit Disconnect” about the impact of the pandemic on small businesses.[19] Gold cited that small businesses are in for a "world of hurt" because they have less of an ability to tolerate downturns than large companies due to factors such as reduced liquidity, access to credit, and capital markets options.[20][21]


Gold is a known supporter of numerous charitable causes in the areas of education, human services, the arts, the environment, and healthcare/medical research, particularly relating to childhood diseases, cancer, and heart disease.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Treanor, Jill (July 23, 2002). "$40bn in debt - and counting". The Guardian. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Irwin N. Gold Profile". Bloomberg. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Irwin Gold Bio". LinkedIn. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  4. Freedman, William (July 17, 2018). "The Return Of Restructuring?". Global Finance. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  5. "Houlihan Lokey, Boutique Investment Bank, Files for an I.P.O." The New York Times. July 10, 2015. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  6. Peltz, James F. (August 13, 2015). "Investment bank Houlihan Lokey goes public to boost its profile". Los Angeles Times. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  7. Pulliam, Susan (December 31, 2002). "Former WorldCom CEO Built An Empire on Mountain of Debt". The Wall Street Journal. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  8. Giplin, Kenneth (April 20, 2004). "Worldcom Changes Its Name and Emerges From Bankruptcy". The New York Times. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. "Delta Air Lines Steps Up Transformation Plan to Accelerate Path to Profitability". Delta. September 22, 2005. Archived from the original on February 20, 2006. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  10. "Delta Air Lines in black for 2007". Cincinnati Business Courier. January 23, 2008. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  11. "Charter Comm (CHTR) Returns to the Nasdaq after BK". Street Insider. September 14, 2010. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  12. Spector, Mike (November 4, 2010). "MGM Studios, Icahn Agree on Bankruptcy Plan". The Wall Street Journal. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A. (February 23, 2010). "Houghton Owner Restructures Debt". The Wall Street Journal. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  14. "Houlihan Lokey's Gold on Strategy in Retaining Young Bankers". Bloomberg. May 31, 2018. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  15. "Houlihan Lokey's Gold on Next Distress Cycle". Bloomberg. May 31, 2018. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  16. "Houlihan Lokey's Gold Says He's Troubled by Italy's Political Crisis". Bloomberg. May 31, 2018. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  17. Morrell, Alex (May 26, 2018). "Optimistic restructuring bankers say its starting to feel like 2007". Business Insider. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  18. "Houlihan Lokey's Gold Expects a Spike in Defaults as 'Severe' Recession Looms". Bloomberg. March 31, 2020. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  19. Bloomberg, Markets and Finance (October 23, 2020). "Special Report: Fed Credit Disconnect Shows Stimulus Shortcomings". YouTube. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  20. Basak, Sonali (October 20, 2020). "Houlihan Lokey's Irwin Gold Sees 'World of Hurt' for Small Businesses". Bloomberg Business. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  21. Basak, Sonali (October 21, 2020). "Houlihan Lokey's Irwin Gold Sees 'World of Hurt' for Small Businesses". Washington Post. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)

Category:Living people Category:Duke University alumni Category:University of Virginia alumni Category:American company founders Category:People from Los Angeles

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