Meet Our Team
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David Metzner, Managing Partner
David Metzner has consulted for over 25 years on the federal nature of the American Government and the interplay between the states, Washington, DC, and foreign governments in the development of public policy. This has included national debates about the regulation of the financial markets, intellectual property, foreign policy, the arts and public diplomacy.
Mr. Metzner has been with American Continental Group since 1994. In this capacity, he has assisted corporate and non-profit organizations in understanding the development of public policy.
In 2007, Mr. Metzner assumed the leadership of ACG Analytics, the firm’s financial industry consultancy, which advises portfolio managers on how public policy can affect their investment decisions. Most recently, ACG Analytics has been a resource for firms negotiating the sub-prime housing crisis, government conservatorship of the GSEs, the TARP program, government assistance for the auto makers, the EU macro economy as well as Puerto Rico’s budget and debt issues. In 2014, the firm produced over 300 pieces of written research and countless custom research assignments for clients.
Mr. Metzner began his public policy career as the Director of Legislative Affairs for The Singer Company. He assisted the CEO and other senior executives in developing corporate positions on tax policy, international trade, and national security. During this period, he often spoke to corporate employees about the private sector’s role in policy development at the state, local, and federal levels of government.
In January 2009, Mr. Metzner completed his six-year Presidential appointment as Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. In this role, he focused his efforts on strengthening the Center’s programming on Globalization, China and Latin America. He led the Board’s initiative in creating the Kissinger Institute on China-United States Relations. Congressman Lee Hamilton, the Wilson Center’s President, called this the “Center’s most important initiative in thirty years.” The Chinese Government has enthusiastically endorsed the Institute for its leadership in the two nations’ bi-lateral relations. Mr. Metzner serves on the Institute’s Advisory Board which is chaired by Dr. Kissinger and Xu Kuangdi, the former Mayor of Shanghai. He is a member of the Economic Club of Washington and the National Committee on US-China Relations.
Mr. Metzner earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Boston University, a Masters of Art in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and a Juris Doctor from the George Washington University National Law Center. While at Fletcher, he produced a highly regarded thesis on the role of the Vice President in Foreign Policy. At George Washington, he did research on government procurement policy and its effect on the economy.
He resides in Washington, DC and is married to the former Viktoria Jerch and has four daughters and three dogs.
Lawrence McDonald, Managing Director, Head of Global Macro Strategy
Lawrence McDonald comes to ACG Analytics with a wealth of experience in finance, having spent the last 5 years as Managing Director, US Head of Global Macro Strategy at Societe Generale. Larry has joined the firm as Managing Director, Head of Global Macro Strategy and is based in ACGA’s New York City office to lead further development of our capital markets political policy research, systemic risk management, and client integration. Larry joins the firm to continue ACGA’s success in advising institutional clients of policy updates and catalysts that move capital markets.
Larry is a New York Times bestselling author for A Colossal Failure of Common Sense, which has been published in 12 different languages. From 2004-2008 Larry was Vice President of Distressed Debt and Convertible Securities at Lehman Brothers. He is a frequent CNBC contributor and has delivered over 100 keynote speeches in 17 different countries since publishing his book. Larry has contributed to multiple financial documentaries of the 2008 crisis, including the Academy Award winning Inside Job, National Geographic’s The 2000’s, and BBC’s For the Love of Money. With over 20 years in the industry, Larry exhibits an understanding of macroeconomic analysis, global trends, risk management, policy risk analysis and opportunistic trades.
John East, Director of Research
John East comes to ACG from Capitol Hill where he served most recently as a liaison to the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (“HELP”) Committee for Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), while also handling the Senator’s work before the Labor/HHS Appropriations Subcommittee.
Previously, he worked from 2003-2006 as an aide to Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs Committee. For the Committee, John focused on check, credit card and electronic payments, Federal Reserve oversight and housing. He also served as a staff conferee for the public transportation title of SAFETEA-LU, the 6-year transportation bill (P.L. 109-50). In 2002, John worked in the House of Representatives for Scott McInnis (R-CO), a member of the Committee on Ways & Means and the Natural Resources Committee. John brings financial sector, healthcare and Congressional affairs expertise to the American Continental Group.
Before coming to Capitol Hill, John worked on numerous campaigns across the country, from state legislative, gubernatorial and ballot initiative campaigns, to House and Senate campaigns—in both the primary and general stages. Although he has worked mainly for Republicans, John began his career in politics volunteering for the unsuccessful House race of President Barack Obama and the unsuccessful Presidential race of Vice-President Al Gore.
John received his JD from the University of Maryland. He also graduated with honors from the University of Chicago where he focused on U.S. security and diplomacy. A rare native of Washington, D.C., John graduated with honors from St. Albans High School, receiving the prizes in English and German. John takes an active interest in agricultural policy and legislation. He is active in local Maryland politics.
Xiaoyu Zhu, Director of China Practice
Xiaoyu Zhu is Director of China Practice for ACG Analytics and joined the firm in 2011. In his capacity, Mr. Zhu spearheads a weekly series of research notes entitled “China Insight.” His research focuses on the intersection of China’s economic policy and American investors’ interests, including China’s macroeconomic and monetary policy, financial services regulation, real estate, local government debt, and shadow banking sector, as well as Chinese domestic politics and its implications for the U.S. He also regularly contributes to the firm’s energy policy and Latin American researches.
Mr. Zhu is dedicated to enhancing dialogues between leading American and Chinese investors, and to helping Chinese investors become successful in the U.S. He advises Chinese firms to establish their U.S. presence, to partner with American investors, and to engage in investment projects across the country.
Prior to ACG Analytics, Mr. Zhu interned with the China Practice of Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategic consulting firm co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. For multiple Fortune 500 clients doing business in China, he assisted with market and industry research, assessed political and business risks, interpreted regulations and policies, and analyzed media information.
Mr. Zhu served as research assistant to leading experts at top Chinese and U.S. institutions. Working successively with the Center for International and Strategic Studies of Peking University and the Sigur Center for Asian Studies of the George Washington University, he retains an in-depth understanding of the security and economic dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region, especially the China-U.S. bilateral relationship. He also worked for several transnational programs, including Peking University – Yale University Joint Program and Peking University – LSE Summer School.
Mr. Zhu received dual bachelor’s degrees in international studies and psychology from China’s Peking University. He then attended the Elliott School of International Affairs in George Washington University, and earned his master’s degree in international affairs with concentrations in international development and Asian studies. He was also a founding member of the Peking University – Yale University Joint Undergraduate Program in Beijing.
Mr. Zhu’s analysis was cited in both Chinese and English media, including Forbes and Securities Market Weekly. He is able to leverage his educational and professional experiences to provide clients with connections to leading think tanks, financial media, businesses, and law firms in Beijing, Shanghai, New York City, and Washington, DC.
Mr. Maihöfer is an independent consultant focusing on the Financial Sector and ACG Analytics’ European Partner. Prior to this assignment, he was a Managing Director within Citi’s Fixed Income and Capital Markets Departments, responsible for Debt Origination, Structured Products, Derivatives and Securitisation in Frankfurt and London. Mr. Maihoefer started his career in 1988 at Salomon Brothers in Frankfurt, New York and London and worked as a Director for DresdnerKleinwortBenson as Head of Derivatives Marketing for 5 years.
Mr. Maihöfer served for 5 years as Member of the Advisory Board of True Sale International as was founding member of the German securitisation initiative TSI in 2003. From 2011 until 2013, he was Co-Chairman of the Financial Services Committee of the German American Chamber of Commerce in Frankfurt and represented Citi at the German PPP initiative, ÖPP Beteiligungs AG des Bundes from 2009 to 2013. He will become a member of the board of Stiftung Kapitalmarktforschung für den Finanzstandort Deutschland, as of September 2013.
Mr. Maihöfer holds the degree Diplom-Kaufmann from the University of Regensburg.
Stephen Pinkos has nearly 15 years of experience working in senior government positions on Capitol Hill and in the Administration. From January 2011 to June 2013, Steve served as Policy Director and General Counsel to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy. He worked with the Offices of the Speaker and Majority Leader to devise and pass all major legislation considered by the House of Representatives. He also worked with the Office of the Speaker and the House General Counsel on broad legal matters affecting the House of Representatives.
From 2007-2011, Steve was based in Fort Worth, Texas and worked as a lawyer, government relations specialist and businessman. He advised major corporations on legislative issues and provided expert advice on USPTO matters. He was also involved in Barnett Shale oil and gas leasing and partnered in an effort to bring more choice and competition to the Internet domain market.
From 2004-2007, Steve served as Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In this position, he was one of the top IP policy-makers in the U.S, helping to develop and articulate the Bush Administration’s policy positions on all foreign and domestic patent, trademark and copyright issues. He managed the operations at the USPTO — an agency with 7,000 employees and a $1.7 billion budget — and a comprehensive effort to improve the quality and timeliness of patent and trademark examinations. Steve was also integral to the Bush Administration’s efforts to devise and implement strategies to promote the global IP interests of U.S. businesses and to thwart the global counterfeiting of U.S. products. He also spearheaded the USPTO’s efforts to facilitate greater efficiency and stronger cooperation among the USPTO and other IP offices around the world.
This work required coordination with private industry as well as negotiation with officials from foreign governments and international organizations. Accordingly, Steve led delegations to Geneva, China, Japan, Germany, Singapore, Korea, Brazil and Vietnam.
Prior to his USPTO appointment, Steve served nine years in his first stint as a staffer on Capitol Hill. This included six years with the House Committee on the Judiciary working under Chairmen Hyde and Sensenbrenner. As Committee Staff Director and Deputy General Counsel from 2001-2004, Steve managed the Congressional consideration of significant issues including the several trade agreements; litigation management proposals; immigration, antitrust, intellectual property and bankruptcy law changes; and law enforcement oversight and legislation, including anti-terrorism laws.
In November of 2008, Mr. Pinkos was appointed to the USPTO’s Patent Public Advisory Committee (PPAC) by Commerce Secretary Gutierrez and he served on the Board until returning to Capitol Hill in January, 2011.
Steve received his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law and a B.A. from Miami University.
Chris Israel spearheads all technology-media-telecom issues for ACG Analytics, bringing his experience as an accomplished public and private sector executive with an extensive record of leadership, including senior-level appointments by the President of the United States, service on Capitol Hill and holding a senior-level position within a Fortune 50 company.
Mr. Israel works with a diverse range of clients to develop and execute effective policy and communications strategies. He continues to be a frequent speaker on IP and innovation issues and was named one of the 50 “Most Influential People on IP” by Managing Intellectual Property magazine in 2006. He has also been called upon to testify before Congress several times since leaving public service.
Mr. Israel served for nearly seven years in senior leadership roles in the Bush Administration. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Technology Policy at the Commerce Department by President Bush on 2001. While in this position, he led the development and execution of the Administration’s policies designed to maximize U.S. competitiveness and technological growth.
From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Israel served as Deputy Chief of Staff to Commerce Secretaries Donald L. Evans and Carlos Gutierrez, where he assisted in the leadership and management of major Commerce Department priorities such as trade and economic policy. He also served as senior liaison to the White House and other federal agencies.
In 2005, he was appointed to be the first U.S. Coordinator for International Intellectual Property Enforcement by President Bush. In this role, he was responsible for coordinating and leveraging the resources of the U.S. government to protect American intellectual property at home and abroad. He was frequently called upon to testify before Congress and lead U.S. delegations to key countries including China, India, Russia, Japan and the EU. He also represented the U.S. in global fora including WIPO, G8 and the OECD.
Before serving in the Bush Administration, Mr. Israel was Director of International Policy at Time Warner where he worked on issues such as online privacy, intellectual property protection and online taxation. He also assisted in the development of the Global Business Dialogue on E-Commerce, working directly with Time Warner’s then-CEO Gerald Levin.
Earlier in his career, he served on Capitol Hill for U.S. Representatives Jan Meyers (R-KS) and Todd Tiahrt (R-KS).
Mr. Israel received his B.A. from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from The George Washington University.
Mr. Israel also currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Sproxil, Inc., a venture-backed social enterprise that provides a unique solution to minimize the presence of counterfeits in emerging markets, while connecting legitimate companies directly to their consumers in a very scalable way.
Brian C. Dean, Partner
ACG Analytics is pleased to welcome Brian C. Dean, a widely respected Latin American policy and trade expert, to the firm. Brian will be handling our Argentina and Venezuela coverage, among other topics.
Prior to joining ACGA, Brian oversaw the State of Florida’s public-private joint venture promoting economic development through connections to Latin America and the Caribbean. He was also appointed by Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) to lead the state’s efforts to promote trade expansion in the Americas.
Brian also spent time on the ground in Latin America, working through the International Republican Institute to develop programs through political parties in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Guatemala. He is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.
His professional affiliations include having served as the U.S. Executive Director of the Interamerican Ethanol Commission, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, and on the Board of Directors of the World Trade Center Miami.
Prior to his overseas experience, Brian worked on Capitol Hill as the Chief of Staff to Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), the former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Science Committee.
He holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin.
Robert Wagener, Senior Analyst
Robert Wagener joined ACGA in January of 2016. He covers a range of issues including financial services, housing, and other Congressional and regulatory policy actions affecting investment strategy in various U.S. industry sectors.
Prior to ACGA, Robert served as legislative counsel to Representative Richard Hanna of New York. He was responsible for handling a large issue portfolio that included healthcare, international trade, financial services, labor, and intellectual property. Robert also spent time with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and Representative Peter King’s office.
Robert graduated law school from Marquette University and is licensed to practice law in Wisconsin and Illinois. He also received a B.A. in economics from the University of Notre Dame.
Gabriella Heffesse, Analyst
Gabriella Heffesse joined ACG Analytics in 2015, after receiving her B.A. from Dartmouth College. Gabriella majored in economics with a concentration in finance and international markets, and minored in French Literature. At ACGA, Gabriella focuses on business development, operations, and Latam research.
Before joining the ACG team Gabriella interned at Morgan Stanley, concentrating on Argentinean and Venezuelan markets. She also worked at LA Properties throughout college, a real estate firm in Los Angeles.
Jake Edward Meredith, Defense Analyst
Jake Edward Meredith joined ACG Analytics in early 2016, where his research and writing expertise targets defense policy, procurement, and international security. Prior to joining ACGA, he contracted in the Pentagon with Headquarters Marine Corps.
Jake graduated from Wake Forest University in 2015, where he earned a B.A. in Political Science with a double minor in History and Entrepreneurship. While at Wake, his paper on Russian military reform was published by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Jake attended the Episcopal High School in Alexandria, VA, and is originally from Hilton Head Island, SC.