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Our Team

The Principals have over 50 years of combined investment experience.


Leah Zell, PhD, CFA

Founder & Non-Executive Chair
Leah Joy Zell is a nationally recognized expert in international investing, and a pioneer in the international small-cap category. From 1992 to 2005, she was a co-founding partner and portfolio manager at Wanger Asset Management, a global small-mid cap equity specialist known today as Columbia Wanger Asset Management and owned by Ameriprise. During her tenure there, she was Head of the International Equities Team; Lead Portfolio Manager of the Acorn International Fund; and Portfolio Manager of the Wanger European Smaller Companies Fund. From 1984 to 1992, Ms. Zell was a global equity analyst for Harris Associates. She began her career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers in 1979.

Ms. Zell earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College in 1971, graduating Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. In 1979, Ms. Zell received her PhD in Modern Social and Economic History from the Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, where she won Woodrow Wilson, Fulbright (DAAD), and Krupp Foundation fellowships. Ms. Zell earned her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation in 1987.

Management Team

Russel Pillemer

Managing Director
Russel Pillemer is the Managing Director of Lizard Investors and joined the firm in 2020. Mr. Pillemer also co-founded Pengana in 2003. He has been Pengana’s Chief Executive Officer since its inception. Prior to founding Pengana, Mr. Pillmer worked in the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs in New York, where he specialized in providing advice to fund management businesses. Before moving to New York, he was responsible for leading Goldman Sach’s Australian Financial Institutions Group. Russel also previously was Chairman of Centric Wealth Group and a Principal of Turnbull Pillemer Capital. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia and has a Bachelor of Commerce, with honors, from the University of New South Wales.

Investment Team

Jonathan Moog, CFA, MBA

Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager
Before joining the investment team at Lizard, Mr. Moog served as a Senior Research Analyst / Generalist at Brightpoint Capital from 2006 to 2008. He was an Equity Research Associate at Loomis, Sayles & Co. from 2000 to 2003, where he followed the retail, media, restaurant and industrial sectors. Mr. Moog earned his MBA in Finance, Accounting and Strategy from The University of Chicago, graduating with High Honors in 2005 and his BS in Finance and Computer Science from Providence College, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1999. Mr. Moog obtained his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation in 2002.

David Li

Head of Research
Before joining Lizard in 2008, Mr. Li gained extensive investment experience. From 2003 to 2008 he was a Long/Short Analyst at Porter Orlin LLC (now known as Amici Capital). Prior to Porter Orlin, Mr. Li held various positions in investment banking, fixed income and research at Bear, Stearns & Co., Credit Suisse First Boston and Citigroup. He earned his BA in Mathematics and Physics from Cornell University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2000. Mr. Li is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.

Michael (Mickey) Ryan

Research Analyst
Mr. Ryan joined Lizard Investors in 2015. Most recently, Mr. Ryan served as an analyst at Manulife Asset Management, covering U.S. Equities and Structured Products. Prior to his time at Manulife, he was a Research Analyst at the private equity firm, Sports Investment Partners in a summer intern program. Mr. Ryan earned his BSBA from Boston University, concentrating in Finance and Accounting with a minor in History, and graduated Cum Laude in 2013.

Tam Phan, CFA

Research Analyst
Mr. Phan joined Lizard Investors in 2017, as a Research Analyst on the investment team. Formerly, he served as a Senior Investment Performance Analyst at the Northern Trust Co. between 2010 and 2015. In that capacity, he audited investment data and conducted manager due diligence on behalf of institutional clients. Mr. Phan interned at Caro-Kann Capital, an event-driven fund based in San Francisco, in the summer of 2016. He holds an M.B.A. from the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business and a BA in Accounting, Finance and International Business, magna cum laude from Loyola University. Mr. Phan obtained his CFA® designation in 2016 and is a Registered CPA.

Finance & Operations

Ty Trusgnich

Chief Financial Officer, Chief Compliance Officer
Before joining Lizard in 2016, Ty Trusgnich spent almost 10 years at GoldenTree Asset Management in New York City, serving in several accounting positions before being promoted to Assistant Controller in January 2013.   Mr. Trusgnich earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Wabash College.

Angela Garner

Office Manager
Before joining Lizard in 2020, Ms. Garner served as an Operations Supervisor for Managed by Q, an office management platform company from 2016-2019. She was primarily responsible for creating operational processes while maintaining client and staff relationships. From 2007 – 2015 she served as a Multi-Unit Manager for Einstein Noah Restaurant Group managing several teams across various locations.

Service Providers

Fund AdministratorIFS, a State Street Corporation
Prime BrokerageGoldman, Sachs & Co.
24/7 International TradingWilliams Trading LLC / Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Legal CounselNeil Gerber Eisenberg / Maples & Calder
IT/Telecom/Disaster RecoveryInfoHedge Technologies