The Copia Group (TCG), a Chicago-based private investing firm that invests in lower middle-market firms, is rounding out its leadership team with two key hires.

The firm, which launched in September, was founded by Shundrawn Thomas and Anthony Hoye, two Chicago-based businessmen. The firm prioritizes those firms that are minority or women-owned businesses that make a social impact to partner with.

TCG announced the hiring of Todd Schneider as chief financial officer and chief compliance officer and Peter Washington as head of originations. Both individuals will report to Thomas, who is the founder and managing partner at TCG.

As CFO and CCO, Schneider will supervise the firm’s financial strategy, as well as engage in risk management, the firm said. He will also design, implement, and monitor how the firm adheres to the rules and regulations in the industry.

“Our business is very highly regulated,” Thomas said. “What he brings, in addition to his accounting background ... is deep experience on the compliance side specifically as it relates to working in the investment management business."

Schneider has more than 30 years of experience working in the financial services industry. Previously, he worked as the CFO and CCO at Delta Capital Partners, a Chicago-based private equity firm focused on litigation finance, and at Conversus Asset Management, a loan agency also based in Chicago. He also served as the senior vice president and chief accounting officer at FBOP Corporation, a financial services firm in Oak Park, Ill.

Washington will identify and source prospective deal opportunities and develop strategic relationships, according to Thomas.  

“He’s someone who deeply knows credit and credit underwriting [and] over the course of his career, he participated in every key part of that business,” Thomas said. “Peter will sit on our investment committee … that ultimately approves the deals that we invest in.”

Washington has more than 20 years of experience having worked at Chicago-based CapX Partners for 13 years, before Accord Financial acquired it. CapX provided leasing and financing programs to middle-market firms. Before that, Washington served as the senior secured lender for Northern Trust Company and served on their Middle Market Lending and Business Banking divisions.

He was recruited and hired by Thomas at Northern Trust. 

The new hires have connections with Thomas through the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Thomas, along with his two hires all earned their MBAs there. In addition, Washington earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Florida A&M University, which is Thomas’ alma mater.  Schneider earned his bachelor's degree in accounting from Northern Illinois University.   

TCG has also hired a chief impact officer, whose responsibility will be to implement the firm’s proprietary social impact framework and develop impact investment solutions, Thomas said. The firm will announce the name of that position in the coming weeks. 

The new additions to the firm share TCG’s company values which are compassion, resilience, excellence, equity, and diversity, he said.

“As we considered various talented people who could potentially join our team, it was important to us that they share the values that we discussed,” he said. “These are individuals that we believe embody our values, which is why we think it’s a strong meshing of a senior leadership team.”