Knighthood Capital is made up of a unique team with global experience at the highest levels within some of the best known businesses in the world.
James Hogan, AO
James Hogan is the founder and Executive Chairman of Knighthood Capital. He recently served as President and CEO of the Etihad Aviation Group, which he built into a US$20 billion enterprise, achieving the mandate from his shareholders of building a world-class diversified aviation and travel group.
Over recent years he also held positions as Vice Chairman and Board member of Alitalia, Airberlin, Jet Airways and Air Serbia; Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC); and as a member of the IATA Board of Governors.
Prior to this, James was President and CEO of Gulf Air, and held senior executive positions at BMI, Forte Hotels, and Hertz. He served as a non-executive director and member of the Board’s Audit Committee of Gallaher Group and was also a member of the UBS Industrialisation Advisory Board. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aerospace Society. Under James’ leadership, Etihad was named Air Transport World’s Airline of the Year in 2016, the industry’s most prestigious independent accolade. In 2017, he was appointed
an Officer of the Order of Australia for ‘distinguished services to the aviation transport industry, to the development of tourism and trade linkages between Australia and the Gulf states, and to international airline associations’.
Chief Executive Officer
James Rigney recently served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Etihad Aviation Group and was a Board member of Alitalia, airberlin, Air Serbia and Jet Airways. He was a recent member of the IATA Finance Committee. Prior to this, James served as Head of Strategy at Gulf Air and held positions at Ansett and KPMG.
James was named the best Middle East CFO in 2013 and received multiple awards for funding structures and arrangements that he led. James is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor degree in Business and an MBA from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.
Dirk Schmalenbach joins Knighthood Capital following a career as a partner in an international law firm. During that time, he specialised in the airline and financial sectors, focusing on debt and equity financing as well as public and private M&A transactions, where he is a recognised global advisor. Several of the transactions he advised on were identified as deals of the year. Dirk is a lawyer admitted to the German Bar and holds a Dr Iur degree from the University of Göttingen, Germany.
Ulf Hüttmeyer served as Senior Vice President Finance and M&A Equity Partners at the Etihad Aviation Group where he worked on major M&A and financial transactions. Previously, Ulf was Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of airberlin, managing all finances of the airline. Prior to airberlin, Ulf held senior executive positions at Commerzbank, where he managed large financial transactions including debt and equity raising. He holds a degree in Business Administration.
Ajaz Ahmed Nazier is an Abu Dhabi based director at Knighthood Capital Partners.
Following a career of more than 35 years in the global aviation industry, he has specialist technical expertise in aircraft and equipment negotiations, aircraft leasing, and MRO services.
He formerly served as Senior Vice President of Global Strategic Contracts for the Etihad Aviation Group in the UAE, where he was responsible for managing the Group’s key technical contracts, playing a leading role in the negotiation of multi-billion dollar deals for the purchase of aircraft and engines, MRO services and PBH agreements.
He began his career at Gulf Air in Bahrain where he spent 27 years working in senior technical management positions before moving to Jet Airways in 2008 as Senior General Manager, Contracts responsible for a fleet of more than 100 aircraft.
He holds a B Sc in Aviation Maintenance Management and Aircraft Technologies and an Associate Degree in Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, US.