David P. Willard is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer of 52 Capital Partners, LLC. The Firm is an American boutique strategic advisory firm that provides general strategic and business advice to North American and European companies in connection with mergers and acquisitions and other strategic transactions with a nexus to the Asia-Pacific region. Mr. Willard is responsible for all major aspects of the Firm’s executive management, strategy, client development and research leadership.
During his career, Mr. Willard has executed and participated in consequential mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buyouts and other corporate transactions in the United States, Europe and Asia. He has successfully advised Fortune 500 businesses, investment firms and multi-national corporations spanning all major industries and geographies. Mr. Willard began his career in investment banking and mergers and acquisitions at Goldman, Sachs & Co. in London and thereafter worked at Pantera Capital Management LP, the global investment firm in San Francisco. Prior to founding 52 Capital Partners, LLC, Mr. Willard worked at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York City and at private equity firm Sage Capital LLC in St. Louis. Mr. Willard’s career expertise in mergers and acquisitions and Asia-Pacific economic matters has been recognized in Bloomberg News, Forbes, the Financial Times, the National Committee on United States-China Relations, the South China Morning Post, Business Today, Intellectual Asset Management Magazine, the Naples Roundtable, Capital Innovators, Policy Punchline, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, eFinancial Careers and Princeton Alumni Weekly, among other institutions in the United States and Europe. He is a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations, a leading American non-profit organization that supports and promotes greater understanding and awareness of important economic and policy matters between the two countries. Mr. Willard is the lead contributing author of Getting The Deal Through’s new China M&A Review, an upcoming annual M&A business publication that discusses M&A “best practices” and explores key deal issues impacting strategic decision-making in China.
Prior to his career in business and mergers and acquisitions, Mr. Willard held positions at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation in Cambridge, the Delegation of the European Union to China in Beijing and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs in the Administration of President George W. Bush. He was appointed to, and served on, the Advisory Committee of the USS Gerald R. Ford CVN 78 Aircraft Carrier Commissioning Project in connection with the launch of the United States Navy’s super-carrier. Mr. Willard has served as a guest-lecturer on international business transactions and Asia-Pacific economics at Princeton University, Harvard Business School, Yale University, New York University, Washington University in St. Louis, the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University and Haas Business School at the University of California-Berkeley.
Mr. Willard serves as a subject-matter business advisor to start-up ventures at Capital Innovators, the nationally-ranked seed accelerator program in the United States. Mr. Willard serves as a Mentor-in-Residence of Yale Law School. He previously served as a Fellow with the Princeton-in-Asia Program in China, serving as an English teacher for at-risk students in Beijing, Hunan, Yunnan and Liaoning. Mr. Willard is a member of the Alumni Board of St. Louis University High School and serves on the school’s Endowment Investment Committee. He serves on the Board of the St. Matthew’s Day School Foundation and volunteers on behalf of Harlem Lacrosse, a leading American non-profit organization that provides educational training, athletic opportunities and academic mentoring to at-risk youth across the United States.
Proficient in Mandarin and a recognized expert on Asia-Pacific economic matters, Mr. Willard holds degrees from Princeton University (A.B., magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and New York University (J.D., cum laude). Mr. Willard completed the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies at Tsinghua University and the Princeton-in-Beijing Chinese Language Program at Beijing Normal University. He holds a certificate in Data Science (Statistics, R Programming, Python) from Stanford University. Mr. Willard and his family reside in Northern California.