Chairman of the Board
Gerard Creagh was appointed as one of our Class I Directors effective as of April 1, 2010. Since May 2011, Mr. Creagh has served as a Managing Partner at CVC Advisers LLC, a financial consulting firm. From September 2005 through April 2010, Mr. Creagh served as the President and a member of the Board of Directors of Duff & Phelps Corporation. From September 2005 to September 2007, Mr. Creagh served as President of Duff & Phelps Acquisitions, LLC. Prior to its merger with Duff & Phelps in September 2005, Mr. Creagh served as executive managing director of Standard & Poor’s Corporate Value Consulting practice. Mr. Creagh joined Standard & Poor’s from PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he held the position of North American Valuation Services practice leader. Mr. Creagh previously served as the U.S. leader for the Valuation Practice of Coopers & Lybrand. Mr. Creagh has a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in mechanical engineering from Manhattan College and has an M.B.A. in finance from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business.
Mark A. Abrams
Mark Abrams was appointed as one of our Class I Directors on November 15, 2007. Mr. Abrams served as Chief Investment Officer of the Presidential Life Insurance Company from November 2003 until January 2013 and as Executive Vice President from 2005 until January 2013. He was Senior Vice President of the Presidential Life Insurance Company from 2001 to 2003, and before that, Mr. Abrams served as Vice President of the Presidential Life Insurance Company since October 1994. Mr. Abrams has a Bachelor’s Degree from Hobart College.
Sandra Bell was appointed as one of our Class II Directors on December 2, 2021. Ms. Bell served as the Chief Financial Officer of Tiptree Inc. (NASDAQ: TIPT) from July 2015 to March 2023. Previously, Ms. Bell served as Chief Financial Officer of Prospect Mortgage, a private equity owned mortgage originator and servicer, and as Chief Financial Officer of PHH Corporation (PHH) a publicly traded, multi-divisional financial services company engaged in the private label mortgage services and fleet management businesses. Prior to PHH, Ms. Bell served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati. Prior to assuming her position at the Federal Home Loan Bank, Ms. Bell had been a Managing Director at Deutsche Bank Securities. Ms. Bell received a BA Economics from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Kevin G. Chavers
Kevin G. Chavers was appointed as one of our Class I Directors effective as of June 10, 2021. Mr. Chavers has over 34 years of experience across multiple roles in the real estate finance and mortgage industry. He served as Managing Director of BlackRock in the Global Fixed Income and Securitized Asset Investment Team until April 2021, focusing on residential mortgage related assets, including RMBS, whole loans and MSRs. Mr. Chavers also served on the leadership team of BlackRock Impact Opportunity Fund, the Global Public Policy Group and BlackRock Solutions, Financial Markets Advisory Group. Prior to joining BlackRock, Mr. Chavers served as Managing Director of Morgan Stanley from 2003 to 2011 and Vice President of Goldman Sachs from 1998 to 2003. Mr. Chavers also served at various government agencies, including as the President of Ginnie Mae from 1995 to 1998.
Mr. Chavers currently serves as a board member of Freddie Mac, SMBC Americas Holdings, Inc., Toorak Capital Partners and on the board of trustees of Optimum Funds. In addition, Mr. Chavers serves as a board member of various nonprofit organizations, including the Enterprise Community Partners, the University of Virginia Foundation, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. Mr. Chavers earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Virginia.
Phillip J. Kardis II
Chief Executive Officer
Phillip J. Kardis II is our Chief Executive Officer. Prior to becoming Chief Executive Officer in December 2022, Mr. Kardis served as the Company’s Chief Legal Officer and Secretary from September 2015 to December 2022. During his tenure as the Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Mr. Kardis has been actively involved in leadership of the Company, its operations, and its strategic initiatives since its founding in 2007, and has played a key role in structuring the Company’s securitization, financing and investment transactions. Mr. Kardis has been immersed in all aspects of the Company’s strategic planning, policies and transactions, including serving on the Valuation Committee and Investment Committee. Mr. Kardis has recognized expertise in mortgage REITs and structured transactions. Prior to joining the Company in September 2015, Mr. Kardis was a partner with the law firm of K&L Gates LLP where he represented mortgage REITs and other companies and funds that acquire, originate, service and finance residential mortgage loans, mortgage servicing rights and mortgage-backed securities, including the Company. Prior to joining K&L Gates LLP in 2004, Mr. Kardis practiced corporate and securities law at several law firms. In addition, Mr. Kardis has held positions at the U.S. Department of Commerce, Rockwell International, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Budget and Analytic Services, Inc. Mr. Kardis has two BA degrees from George Washington University, an MA from George Washington University, an MA from George Mason University, and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Susan Mills was appointed as one of our Class I Directors effective as of November 13, 2023. Since October 2023, Ms. Mills has been a Managing Director at Academy Securities, a veteran-owned and operated investment bank with strengths in capital markets, asset management, public finance, geopolitical intel, fixed income and equity trading. Until May 2023, she spent 36 years at Citigroup Global Markets as the successor to Salomon Brothers. During her time at Citi, Ms. Mills held various senior management positions in businesses related to North American Residential Mortgages, including contract finance related to whole loan transactions, securitization, warehouse lending and sourcing residential investment opportunities for Citi or their private credit clients. While at Citi, she was active in women’s mentoring and recruiting groups. She was on the board of Kingsbridge Heights Community Center for two years. Ms. Mills received a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Long Island University.
Brian Patrick Reilly
Brian Patrick Reilly was appointed as one of our Class III Directors on July 31, 2019. Mr. Reilly has over 34 years of experience across multiple roles in the financial services industry. He currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Auditor of The Travelers Companies, Inc., where he oversees the global audit team evaluating financial controls, operational efficiency, regulatory compliance and system and data integrity. He has been the Chief Auditor of The Travelers since 2002. Prior to joining The Travelers, Mr. Reilly was a partner with Arthur Andersen LLP. In addition, Mr. Reilly currently serves as a board member of the Connecticut Society of Certified Public Accountants, an organization of accounting professionals, and Village for Families and Children, a non-profit organization. Mr. Reilly has a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting from the University of Connecticut.
Debra W. Still was appointed as one of our Class II Directors on March 6, 2018. Ms. Still has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Pulte Financial Services since 2010, which includes the mortgage lending, title and insurance operations of PulteGroup, Inc. (NYSE: PHM), one of the nation’s largest homebuilders. In addition to Pulte Financial Services, Ms. Still is also President of, and a member of the board of managers of, Pulte Mortgage, LLC, a nationwide lender headquartered in Englewood, Colorado. Ms. Still began her career with Pulte Mortgage, LLC in 1983 where she served in various executive capacities, including Chief Operating Officer, prior to being named President in 2004. Ms. Still currently serves on the board of Enact Holdings, Inc. Ms. Still is a graduate of Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y., with a Bachelor of Science degree and has completed graduate work in Finance at George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
President, COO & Co-Chief Investment Officer
Choudhary Yarlagadda is our President, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Chief Investment Officer. Mr. Yarlagadda serves as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer starting in August 2015, as the Company’s President starting in December 2020 and as the Company’s Co-Chief Investment Officer starting in December 2022. Prior to becoming Chief Operating Officer in August 2015, Mr. Yarlagadda was a Managing Director and Head of Structured Products for Annaly since January 2008. Prior to joining Annaly, Mr. Yarlagadda was a Director in Structured Credit Products at Credit Suisse and before that a Vice President in the Fixed Income Mortgage Group at Nomura Securities International, Inc. Mr. Yarlagadda has an MS from the Florida Institute of Technology and BS from the National Institute of Technology (India).