John F. DePodesta
Emeritus, ECMC Foundation
As an entrepreneur, lawyer, business executive and fiduciary, John DePodesta’s career has spanned a variety of industries, including transportation, telecommunications, health care and education. He has developed particular expertise in the areas of business creation, restructuring, governance and legal representation. Mr. DePodesta currently serves as managing director of Dolomite Group, LLC, which provides advisory services to senior executives and public and private governing bodies.
After serving as a law clerk to a federal district court judge, Mr. DePodesta held the position of general counsel-reorganization for the Trustees of the Penn Central Railroad, which was then the largest financial and operational restructuring in U.S. history. The successful reorganization required the harmonization of interests of creditors, rail labor, shippers, and state and local governments, as well as enabling federal legislation. The essential rail assets of Penn Central were transferred to Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) and Mr. DePodesta served as general counsel at Conrail’s inception. He was later involved in the process that led to the privatization of Conrail in what was then the largest initial public offering in U.S. history.
From 1979-1999, Mr. DePodesta was engaged in private law practice as a partner, and thereafter as of counsel, in the Washington, D.C., office of the Pepper Hamilton law firm. He specialized in regulated industries, corporate transactions, corporate restructurings and governance.
Throughout his career, Mr. DePodesta has successfully created and grown several businesses. As cofounder, senior executive and member of the board of Primus Telecommunications Group, a global facilities-based data/Internet and voice carrier, Mr. DePodesta led efforts to negotiate a series of global acquisitions as well as to raise debt and equity capital in public and private markets. These efforts led to the company being ranked in the Fortune 1000 within five years of its founding. During the global recession in 2008, Mr. DePodesta led the company through a successful prearranged bankruptcy in less than 90 days during which operations remained stable and debt was reduced by more than 50%.
During his tenure at Genesis Health Ventures as senior vice president of law and public policy, Mr. DePodesta was a senior member of a management team that oversaw the growth of the company over a three-year period from $500 million to $2 billion in annual revenues. Genesis became one of the largest long-term care and pharmacy providers in the United States. Following a restructuring of the predecessor company, Mr. DePodesta joined the board of Genesis HealthCare Corporation and served as a member of the Audit Committee and Governance and Compensation Committee. He also served as a member of the board’s Special Committee in connection with the company’s merger with a consortium of private equity firms in a transaction that generated $1.8 billion in cash for stakeholders. When Genesis regained its status as a public company through a merger in 2015, Mr. DePodesta was elected to the board and served through early 2021. He was chairman of the Compensation Committee, a member of the Audit Committee and served as lead director.
As one of the original members of the Higher Education Assistance Foundation (HEAF) board when it was established in 1990, Mr. DePodesta assisted with the conception, implementation and supervision of the “controlled liquidation” of HEAF’s $9 billion student loan portfolio. He later served as chairman of the HEAF Liquidation Trust during the wind-down process. When the U.S. Department of Education created the charter establishing Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC), Mr. DePodesta transitioned to serving on the board of ECMC in 1994. During his tenure on the board, Mr. DePodesta has served as chairman of the Governance and Compensation Committee, chairman of the Investment Committee, chairman of the ECMC Group Board of Directors and chairman of the ECMC Foundation Board of Directors.
Mr. DePodesta is a graduate of Harvard College and holds a juris doctor degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.