Insolvency Institute

George Kelakos

Managing Director

George Kelakos's picture

Kelakos Advisors LLC
500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400 ,
Greenwich, 06830

T. 203-987-6107
F. 866-757-7102


Mr. Kelakos has over 36 years of experience as an attorney and business adviser to debtors, creditors, receivers, trustees and other fiduciaries on domestic (US) and cross-border transactional matters, distressed M & A, insolvency and dispute resolution matters in numerous industries and sectors. For the last 20 years, Mr. Kelakos has also worked in operating, directorship and advisory roles for Western companies with subsidiaries and affiliates in SE Asia and China, Europe and the Middle East. Mr. Kelakos also has formal referral relationships with the Bangkok, Thailand-based law firm of Tilleke & Gibbins, the HCM City Vietnam-based law firm of Dilinh, and the PRC-based Zhong Lun Law Firm.

Mr. Kelakos also has many years of experience on the monetization of patent assets-both in the US and internationally. His efforts have resulted in the closing of over 30 buy and sell-side patent transactions. On the buy side, Mr. Kelakos has acted for large opportunistic patent aggregator firms and on the sell side, his experience includes the sale of a 3,500 plus patent portfolio to a SE Asia-based buyer for a well-known company and a recent sale of the IP assets for the Chapter 7 Trustee of the Open Peak estate.

In addition to his private sector practice, since 2018, Mr. Kelakos has served actively participated as a Working Group member of the ABLI-III Principles of Business Restructuring Project covering in and out- of-court laws restructuring laws and procedures in the “ASEAN Plus 5” countries. The first phase of this project-the development of a questionnaire that has been sent to country reporters-was recently completed. In 2017 and 2018, Mr. Kelakos was served as an Adjunct Professor for the University of Toronto’s GPLLM course entitled “International Insolvency Law” which was taught to international and Canadian students of the program.

Mr. Kelakos has also worked on public sector training and knowledge-transfer projects work in Thailand, China and the Middle East. Shortly after the Asian Financial Crisis, Mr. Kelakos worked on NGO and government-sponsored projects in Thailand relating to business restructuring and insolvency law, as well as mediation training and practice under the mantle of the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), a US-based nonprofit professional organization focused on insolvency and business restructuring matters. Supporting and sponsoring NGOs included the World Bank, Kenan Institute Asia, a USAID contractor (KI Asia), the ASEAN Secretariat and IBRD ASEM II grant. Governmental agencies on the Thai projects included the Ministry of Justice, the Central Bankruptcy Court, the Supreme Court, the IP/IT Court, the Thai Legal Execution Department (LED), the Business Reorganization Office of the LED, the Office of the Judiciary, and the Thai Alternative Dispute Office of the Office of the Judiciary (Thai ADRO). In China, Mr.
Kelakos worked on knowledge-transfer programs sponsored by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China relating to out-of-court workouts and in 2011, Mr. Kelakos was a co-trainer on advanced mediation projects for judges, attorneys and prominent members of the business community in Egypt.

Prior to the formation of Kelakos Advisors LLC in 2006, Mr. Kelakos practiced US and international insolvency and business restructuring law with firms in Denver, Boston, Los Angeles and New York City, including for 12 years as a founding partner of Boston-based, Cohn & Kelakos LLP, a market-leading insolvency and business restructuring firm, as Of Counsel to Heller Ehrman, LLP, as Of Counsel to the New York office of Salans (Dentons) and as a partner of FSB Fisher Broyles, LLP. In Thailand, he served as the Managing Director of Bangkok-based Tonson Planners, Ltd. from 2000-2002, providing advisory services to clients involved in the monetization of NPLs and NPAs and insolvency and business restructuring matters.

Selected cross-border legal and advisory experience

Over the course of his 36-year legal and business advisory career, Mr. Kelakos has worked on hundreds of matters, representing debtors, creditors-including foreign bond holders and convertible-note holders, trustees, receivers, fiduciaries, shareholders, commercial litigants, and buyers and sellers of distressed businesses and assets. The following is a selected list of current and past cross-border engagements:

• Providing strategic and advisory assistance to a US-based professional role as an independent advisory team member with respect to the firm’s advisory role for a private company with a wholly-owned NL subsidiary.
• Representing the Assignee for the Benefit of Creditors of a US-based company to facilitate the disposition of a bio chemical facility in Johor Bahru, Malaysia and resolve the claims of multiple parties in this matter.
• Representing UK and Cayman-based bond holders that seek to enforce their claims against a high- profile Thai public company.
• Representing the interests of a US manufacturer of consumer goods on dispute resolution, commercial and M & A matters relating to operations in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and China.
• Advising multiple US-based technology companies in the repurposing and wind downs of their respective Chinese, Indian and Israeli subsidiaries, including serving as a liquidating director and director of several of the entities and serving as a legal representative for a Chinese WOFE;
• Serving as an adviser for a consortium of foreign lenders to a multi-jurisdictional (Europe, Asia and North America) group of companies with two large Thai operating businesses engaged in the manufacturing of large diameter specialty steel and clad pipe and fittings used primarily in the oil & gas industry with clients in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and North and South America. Mr. Kelakos’ would eventually serve as Managing Director of four of the Thai manufacturing businesses, as a director of two intermediate Spanish holding companies and finally, as the “Planner” (Bankruptcy Administrator) of two of the Thai operating businesses in formal “rehabilitation” proceedings under Article 3 of the Thai Bankruptcy Act (Canadoil Asia Ltd. and Canadoil Pipe Ltd.). Through the in-court Thai rehabilitation proceedings, the debtor companies reduced $3 Billion of claims to $600 Million and rehabilitation plans for the two companies were confirmed in 2015 and 2016. In addition, while serving as an adviser for the lender consortium, Mr. Kelakos played a leading role in the sale of a Korean affiliate and in the monetization of the assets of one of the Thai affiliates (a failed 1.2 metric ton specialty steel plate facility).
• Serving as the chapter 11 Trustee, thereafter as Plan Administrator and later as adviser for the Western creditors of a US public company (Terra Nostra Resources Corporation) that owned majority joint venture interests in Chinese joint ventures that operated steel and copper processing facilities in Shandong Province, China (the efforts ultimately culminated in the sale of the Chinese operations to the local joint venture partner and a significant distribution to the Western creditors);
• Serving as an adviser on Thai insolvency and restructuring law matters to the legal team managing a large cross-border cases involving a well-known Asia-based airline;

• Advising a European insolvency administrator in a high profile legal dispute with a SE Asian country on cultural, social and legal matters, which ultimately resulted in an out-of-court settlement of the dispute;
• Advising the management of the Thai affiliate of a large Japanese department store chain (Sogo) in the wind down of the Thai operations;
• Representing several mid-market Thai manufacturers of consumer products with respect to their claims in US chapter 11 proceedings;
• Advising the CRO of a US-based electronics manufacturer (chapter 11 debtor) on the operational turnaround and transformation of its Thai subsidiary (the subsidiary was ultimately sold as a going concern);
• Representing the chapter 11 Trustee of a US company (Unifi Communications) in the wind down and disposition of its multiple Asian and European affiliates (the case was ultimately resolved by the confirmation of a “liquidating” chapter 11 plan);
• Advising the Thai parent of one of Asia’s largest conglomerates (CP Group) in the orderly wind down and disposition of their affiliates in the US that maintained operations in four US states (Avian Farms, Inc., et al.), which services included negotiating and closing a the sale of the US operations to a strategic purchaser and thereafter, representing the parent and four SE Asian affiliates in a successful mediation which resolved “debt re-characterization” claims brought by the Assignee for the Benefit of Creditors of the US entity against the Asian affiliates and parent “insider” entities;
• Representing a large US-based privately-held real estate-focused fund on matters relating to due diligence activities for large commercial and residential acquisition opportunities in Thailand;
• Representing a large US-based creditor in the TPI case in Thailand and thereafter, providing advisory services to the principal of TPI;
• Representing the chapter 11 estate of Town & Country, a US public jewelry manufacturing company in the sale and disposition of its Thai manufacturing subsidiaries; and
• Representing the chapter 11 estate of Shape Inc. and its affiliated entities, at that time the largest manufacturer of magnetic media in the world, in the disposition of its UK affiliate and the multi- year restructuring of operations, culminating in a 100 percent distribution to all creditors and a significant distribution to the company’s shareholders.

Professional Memberships

Mr. Kelakos is a Founding Member of the International Insolvency Institute (III) and served until recently as the Co-Chair of that organization’s Asia Pacific Committee. He has served as an official “observer” at UNCITRAL Working Group projects on cross-border insolvency on behalf of the ABI and the III and secured transaction law reform and as a delegate and speaker at three “Forum on Asian Insolvency Reform” conferences held in Thailand and in Vietnam. Mr. Kelakos is also a founding member of the Asia Transformation and Turnaround Association and he received an award from this organization in 2015 for Turnaround of the Year (Canadoil Pipe Ltd.). In addition, Mr. Kelakos is an active member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and has served as the Vice President of International Affairs, as a Board Member and Executive Committee of the Board, and as Chair of the International Committee of the ABI. He is a frequent speaker/panelist at US and international conferences on the topics of ADR, cross-border restructuring cases and out-of-court workouts.


Mr. Kelakos is fluent in French and Italian, can speak conversational Thai and Hebrew, and conversational Greek. Mr. Kelakos is also trying to develop basic conversational skills in Mandarin and Bahasa Indonesia.


Brandeis University (B. A. in Politics cum laude 1979). University of Denver, Sturm College of Law (Juris Doctor 1982).

US Bar Admissions

Colorado 1982 (inactive).
Massachusetts 1985 (inactive). New York 2003 (active).


45+ year external and internal martial artist and frequent instructor to experienced martial arts practitioners at domestic (US) and international workshops.

Flamenco, rock and blues guitar-lead guitarist for two classic rock bands whose members consist of a retired judge and active legal and business professionals: the ABI’s “Indubitable Equivalents” (since 2004) and a NYC –based band, “Cramdowns” (since 2016).

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