Guma Aguiar - Biography
Guma L. Aguiar is a Brazilian-born energy industrialist and millionaire businessperson who splits his time living between the United States and Israel. Guma Aguiar is recognized as a leading philanthropist who has supported a variety of Jewish causes including Nefesh B'Nefesh and the March of the Living. In July 2009, Aguiar invested over US$4 million in support of the Beitar Jerusalem Football Club.
Guma was interviewed on October 4 by Jeremy Last and Uriel Sturm on http://www.israelsportsradio.com.
Guma Aguiar was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in to a Jewish family. His family moved to the United States when Aguiar was two years old, though he now lives in the Yemin Moshe quarter in Jerusalem for much of the year. The remainder of the time he lives in South Florida.
Aguiar is the vice chairman and chief executive officer of Leor Energy. Aguiar began his career as a clerk on the floor of the NYMEX in 1999 where he focused on the energy markets, with particular emphasis on natural gas. Transitioning from daily trading activity to the long-term physical markets, Aguiar joined with his uncle, Thomas Kaplan, in 2001 to manage a portfolio of family investments ranging from venture capital to private equity and debt. During this time, he served as a director of several public and private companies and was given responsibility for creating a U.S.-based energy company focused on aggressive early-stage oil and gas exploration. After assembling a diversified portfolio of energy properties in Louisiana and Texas, ranging from unconventional natural gas to shallow oil, Aguiar identified and executed Leor’s acquisition of its flagship property in the Deep Bossier of East Texas in 2003.
By late 2004, Leor had amassed the largest land position in the heart of the Deep Bossier, which is one of the most important domestic discoveries in recent history. Under Aguiar’s executive management, Leor successfully engineered the series of financings which fully capitalized the projects in the company’s portfolio including the company’s industrial alliance and joint venture partnership with Encana, which was a mezzanine financing with one of the largest hedge-fund groups, Amaranth Capital LLC; and, most recently, Leor’s financial alliance with its first strategic equity partner, Goldman Sachs & Co.
On January 14, 2010, Mr. Aguiar was committed to a mental hospital near Tel Aviv.
Aguiar is the chairman of the Lillian Jean Kaplan Foundation and is involved in numerous philanthropic activities. He has donated more than US$8 million to fund the activities of Nefesh B'Nefesh, a Zionist organization which promotes mass Jewish immigration from North America and the United Kingdom to Israel. He is also a leading supporter of the March of the Living, which organizes educational programming in Poland and Israel to enable students to better understand the Holocaust and the rebirth of Zionism and the creation of the modern Jewish state of Israel.
For his philanthropic activities, Aguiar was recognized as one of the 36 most influential Jewish leaders under the age of 36 by the New York Jewish Week.
In October 2009, Aguiar and his wife Jamie served as the co-chairs of the prestigious "Facing Tomorrow" Conference in Jerusalem organized by Israel's President Shimon Peres. During the Conference, Aguiar was featured on a panel with the President and offered his vision on Israeli society and culture from the perspective of one of the country's most recognized entrepreneurs.
Guma Aguiar founded the "Defender of Jerusalem Award" which recognizes public figures who have taken uniquely strong stances in support of Jerusalem. The award has already been presented to Israel's President Shimon Peres, former Arkansas Governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee, Texas Governor Rick Perry, Congresswoman Ileana Ros- Lehtinen and Texas State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa.
On July 21, 2009, Aguiar announced an investment of over US$4 million to support the Beitar Jerusalem Football Team which despite a massive fan following had grown into financial distress and was on the brink of collapse prior to the investment. A lifelong die-hard sports enthusiast who has played soccer and tennis at competitive levels, Aguiar was motivated to purchase the team out of his love for the sport combined with a passion for Jerusalem and Israel.
In September 2009, Aguiar took his commitment to Jerusalem sports to the next level when he invested over $1.5 million in the city's leading basketball franchise, Hapoel Jerusalem.
Since these investments, Aguiar has become a fixture in Israeli social circles and regularly meets with members of Knesset and local political and business leaders.
Aguiar has been known to take a very active role in the management of the teams and is in daily contact with the general managers of both Betar (Itzik Kornfein) and Hapoel (Dani Klein.) In November 2009, Guma travelled with Kornfein to Brazil with the goal of scouting out players for the Betar team. He makes an effort to be at every team practice and meets regularly with the players and staff of both teams.
Aguiar is a married father of three, in the process of immigration to Israel, an act described by himself as a personal dream.
On Wednesday, January 13, 2010, Aguiar was forcibly admitted to a psychiatric hospital following a court order.