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In Memoriam William A. Brandt, Jr.
B.A., St. Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri
M.A., University of Chicago
American Bankruptcy Institute
California Receivers Forum
Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association
Commercial Law League of America
International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Professionals (INSOL International)
National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees
South Florida Bankruptcy Bar Association
San Francisco Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum
Bill Brandt was in the business of workout, turnaround and insolvency consulting for more than 48 years and is widely recognized as one of the foremost practitioners in the field. He is the founder of DSI.
For more than 48 years, Bill Brandt has been a fixture on the national stage in the fields of business, civic and political endeavors. A talented business strategist and political counselor, he is the founder and Executive Chairman of Development Specialists, Inc., better known worldwide as DSI and widely recognized as one of the foremost firms in the corporate restructuring industry. While Mr. Brandt and his firm have been and continue to be involved in some of the most celebrated and complex restructuring and insolvency matters in the arenas of business and government reorganization, for example, Mr. Brandt currently serves as the Chapter 11 Trustee in the largest cross-national insolvency pending in the United States, China Fishery Group, as well as also serving as a Chapter 11 Trustee for a railroad, the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad in southern Colorado, the firm also lends its expertise to other matters in the broader economic and political realms. An example of that was Mr. Brandt’s stewardship and resolution of the infamous Ohio “Coin Fund” scandal at the request of the Attorney General of the State of Ohio.
In 2015, Mr. Brandt finished his third consecutive term serving as Chair of the Illinois Finance Authority, having first been appointed by the Governor in 2008 and confirmed unanimously by the Illinois Senate that same year, and then subsequently reappointed as Chair in 2010 and 2012. The IFA is one of the nation’s largest state-sponsored self- financed entities principally engaged in issuing taxable and tax-exempt bonds. Mr. Brandt, again by gubernatorial appointment, was also a member of the Illinois Broadband Deployment Council, whose mission is to ensure that advanced telecommunications services are available to all of the citizens of Illinois. He was also part of the ownership group that controlled Chicago’s second-largest daily newspaper, The Chicago Sun-Times. More recently, in the political realm, Mr. Brandt was a member of the United States Electoral College for the 2016 Presidential Election, serving as an Elector from the State of Illinois.
Mr. Brandt has advised Congress on matters of insolvency and bankruptcy policy, and in that capacity was the principal author of the amendment to the Bankruptcy Code permitting the election of trustees in Chapter 11 cases. He was also involved in drafting several of the amendments to the Bankruptcy Code which became part of the revisions enacted into law in April 2005 as part of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. Mr. Brandt also served as a member of the Commission empaneled by the American Bankruptcy Institute to address the reform of Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code and the nation’s corporate restructuring regime and was instrumental in the recent congressional passage of one of its key suggested reforms, the Small Business Debtor Reorganization provision known as Subchapter V of the Bankruptcy Code.
Referred to several years ago by one media outlet as one of the ten most influential political figures in Illinois, Mr. Brandt was a member of the President’s National Finance Board during the Clinton administration, and was elected a Delegate from the State of Florida to the 1996 Democratic National Convention. At that convention, he joined President Clinton on the podium for his nomination acceptance speech. During that decade as well, and upon the invitation of business and political leaders in the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Brandt worked with various public policy, law and banking leaders in China on approaches to the reorganization and restructuring of some of that nation’s state-owned industries. In 2000, he was a member of the Democratic Party’s National Convention Platform Committee, and in 2002, he served on the Illinois Gubernatorial Transition Team, as well as on the State of California’s business delegation dispatched to Cuba to discuss politics, business and trade potential. In 2008, Mr. Brandt was again elected a Delegate to the Democratic National Convention, this time from the State of Illinois.
As part of his longstanding commitment to higher education and to civic endeavors, Mr. Brandt chaired the National Advisory Council for the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, serving a total of 12 years, from 2006 to 2018, as a member or chair of that board. In recognition of that service, in 2022 the University of California at Berkeley renamed the Graduate Student Carrels within the Institute of Governmental Studies after Mr. Brandt. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Loyola University Chicago from 2007 to 2016, and is a Life Trustee of Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Illinois. Commemorating his work while both Chair of the Illinois Finance Authority and a Trustee of Loyola University of Chicago, Mr. Brandt was a recipient of Alpha Sigma Nu’s Magis Medal Award in 2020. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of New York-based The Honorable Tina Brozman Foundation for Ovarian Cancer Research (Tina’s Wish).
Mr. Brandt served several terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bankruptcy Institute, as well as also serving, for a number of years, as a member of the Advisory Board for that organization’s Law Review. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the ABI’s annual New York City Bankruptcy Conference, having earlier served for 15 years in a similar capacity for the ABI’s Bankruptcy Battleground West Seminar held each year in Los Angeles. Mr. Brandt was a member of the Executive Committee of the Bankruptcy Section of the Commercial Law League of America and served on their National Government Affairs Committee, as well as completing three terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the San Francisco Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum. In 2020, he was a recipient of the New York Institute of Credit’s 46th Annual Leadership in Credit Education Award for Dedication and Commitment to NYIC and the Credit Industry.
In 2022 the American Bankruptcy Institute not only awarded Mr. Brandt its Lifetime Achievement Award but also decided to rename the award in Mr. Brandt’s honor. Henceforth, the American Bankruptcy Institute will now call the award the Bill Brandt Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2022 Mr. Brandt was also the recipient of the Harvey R. Miller Outstanding Achievement Award for Service to the Restructuring Industry, an award given by the Beard Group at their annual Distressed Investing Conference. As well, in 2022, the M&A Advisor group awarded Mr. Brandt its Lifetime Achievement Award as well as selecting him to be admitted to the M&A Advisor Hall of Fame.
In 2023, the Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors bestowed on Mr. Brandt their organization’s Emanuel M. Katten Award, an award presented annually in recognition of an individual’s contribution to both the restructuring industry and the profession as a whole.
Mr. Brandt is active in the industry internationally, and is a member of the International Insolvency Institute, as well as INSOL, and is a U.S. Participant in the 100-member cross-border consortium known as the International Exchange of Experience in Insolvency.
For 20 years, Mr. Brandt was a member of the private Panel of Trustees for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and briefly served as a member of the same panel for the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida in the late 1980s.
Mr. Brandt has written for publications spanning a broad spectrum of thought, ranging from Maclean’s, Canada’s Weekly Newsmagazine, to Directors & Boards, Corporate Board Magazine, the Florida Real Estate Journal, and the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Law Review. He is the co-author of the “Due Diligence” chapter in the 2nd edition of Bankruptcy Business Acquisitions published by the American Bankruptcy Institute. He is a frequent lecturer and speaker on topics of corporate restructuring, bankruptcy and related public policy issues and regularly appears on a variety of national media news outlets. He has been profiled and interviewed in a wide array of periodicals including, among others, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Business Week, The Miami Herald, The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Billboard Magazine and Bank Bailout Litigation News.
Among many other professional and trade organization memberships, Mr. Brandt is a member of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, the International Council of Shopping Centers and the Urban Land Institute. His biography appears in a number of reference works including Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in Finance and Industry, and Who’s Who in American Law, and in 2020, he became an Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement inductee. For well more than a dozen years, his firm, Development Specialists, Inc., has been rated as one of the Outstanding Turnaround Management Firms in the world by the publication Turnarounds & Workouts, and he is routinely listed on annual rosters of the country’s top restructuring advisors. Mr. Brandt received his B.A. from St. Louis University and his M.A. from the University of Chicago, where he also completed further post-graduate work toward a doctoral degree.
3dfx, Aéropostale, Binder & Binder, Bernie Ebbers Settlement Trust, Capital Coin Funds, China Fishery Group, Coudert Brothers, Dewey & Leboeuf, Florida Park Banks, Longview Aluminum, Keck, Mahin & Cate, Malden Mills, Mercury Finance, San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad, Shape, Sonoma Valley Bancorp and Southeast Banking Corporation.