FOUNDER, MANAGING PARTNER
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Ms. Sophat is the Vice President of Finance and Accounting of Gala Capital Partners, LLC with over 15 years of experience in accounting, strategy, risk management, regulatory compliance, and financial advisory
She began her career as an auditor at KPMG Cambodia, specializing in Audit and Advisory in a variety of industries including manufacturing, pharmaceutical, construction, banking, hotel & hospitality and non-profit. Since joining GCP in 2007, she built over 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry serving as financial executive for several brands, both on the franchisee and franchisor side. Currently, she oversees control functions and provides financial information accuracy for multiple concepts including consolidation as well as manages payroll for over 3,500 employees. In addition, she is a member of the M&A team responsible for accounting due diligence, training, system integration, implementation, internal control, and financial reporting.
Ms. Sophat graduated in 2002 from the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and has a Master’s degree in Accounting and Financial Management from the DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management.
Mr. Gala is the Founder and Managing Partner of Gala Capital Partners, LLC, a diversified investment and holding company with interests in chain restaurants, software & technology, real estate development, franchising and public equities investment. He has spent the past 35 years in various executive capacities within the Software, Real Estate & Restaurant Industries.
Restaurant investments have included the development and management of nationally recognized chain restaurants, both franchised and proprietary, throughout the United States. Current portfolio brands under ownership and operation include Fresh Griller, Famous Dave’s BBQ and Mooyah Burger.
Mr. Gala graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. He currently serves on the Board of Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. (Nasdaq:DAVE), is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), UCI CEO Roundtable and a member of the Young President’s Organization (YPO), serving as past Chairman of the YPO Food & Beverage Industry Network and YPO Franchise Industry Network.
He is directly involved in numerous charitable causes and has served as a Director of the Gala Foundation since 2000.
John Dang, Senior Financial Analyst, joined Gala Capital Partners in 2019. In his role, he is responsible for evaluating potential acquisition targets, developing complex financial models, and assisting in the M&A process.
John has many years of exposure in the food & beverage and real estate industry. He started his career in management for a small family business and then a large international bakery chain. Additional roles and experience has included asset manager for a small private investment firm, where he assessed the attractiveness of buying/selling of multi-family real estate and managed the day-to-day operations of the assets in his portfolio.
John received his bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from UC Irvine in 2009 and has recently graduated with his MBA with a focus in finance and strategy from his alma mater, the Paul Merage School of Business. As a student, he won the ACG Cup, the premier investment banking competition, along with his team, beating out other local business schools and ending a 10+ year drought for the school.
As Vice President, Gilles Kersten plays a key role originating, executing, integrating and monitoring all of Gala Capital Partners’ acquisitions and investments since joining in 2017.
Gilles has over 10 years of experience in corporate finance and mergers & acquisitions (M&A). He spent the first five years of his career in investment banking positions with a focus on M&A advisory. In that capacity he worked on a variety of M&A projects across various industries, both as a sell-side and buy-side adviser. Afterwards, Gilles spent three years working in the Corporate M&A department of a global chemical company where he took part in developing and executing the company’s non-organic growth strategy.
Gilles obtained his bachelor’s degree in Economics & Business from the University of Amsterdam in 2007. Furthermore, he holds a Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Amsterdam as well as an MBA from the University of California, Irvine