Next Meridian began in 2005 at a cafe in Bucharest, born out of the conviction that with a systems approach matched to real world skills -- gained both in academia and experience across many industries and global regions -- we could provide superior advice to boards and executives. This idea has resulted in value creation wherever we have had the privilege to apply it.

Chris Adams


Mr. Adams is the Managing Partner and Founder of Next Meridian with over 25 years of experience on Wall Street, as an entrepreneur, and as a corporate advisor serving executives and boards of private companies. Prior to this he was a senior executive with Sempra Energy Trading, a +$3 billion full-service energy & commodities trading company (later sold to RBS). In 1996 Mr. Adams co-founded a chocolate manufacturing business in Romania to take advantage of the emerging market opportunity, eventually divesting for >50X invested dollars. He has been involved with numerous M&A transactions, including the acquisition of several Enron businesses for nearly $1 billion, and has many years experience advising executives and board in metals & mining, energy, technology, and health care. He operates around the globe with relationships built on trust and mutual respect from China to Chile.


Mr. Adams holds an MBA from Duke University and a BA from the University of Colorado. He holds the Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA) certification from the Corporate Finance Institute. Chris earned the well known Health Sector Management Certificate, also from Duke University, and a Diploma in Renewable Energy from NC State University. In addition to FINRA licensure he has held an active Real Estate brokers license for >15 years. He has served on several corporate and non-profit Boards, travels, and spends time in the outdoors with his family.

John Illes


John Illes brings over a dozen years of middle market investment banking experience to Next Meridian.  He has worked with middle market companies with mergers & acquisitions activities focusing on sell-side, buy-side and capital raise engagements in the consumer goods, manufacturing, energy and defense/government services business sectors.


Prior to his time in investment banking, John held senior operating executive positions in the United States and Europe with investor-owned companies of all sizes.  John understands the daily pressures of running a business and he knows what it takes to build an organization.  This background gives him a pragmatic perspective of M&A processes that helps build a bridge between owner-operated businesses and institutional & strategic investors.


John earned his MBA from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University on Dallas., Texas and his Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University if Bloomington, Indiana. He is a Six Sigma Green Belt and is a Certified Merger and Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA) with FINRA Series 24, 62, 63, and 79 licenses.


John lives in the Upstate South Carolina area with his wife and their Labrador Retriever. He enjoys cycling, hiking, skiing, nad shooting sports.  



Craig Lundgren


Meet Craig, our Director of Business Development. Armed with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Management and a minor in Japanese, Craig embarked on a dynamic career journey. His initial two years teaching English in Japan laid the foundation for his global perspective. Upon his return to the US, Craig honed his skills at Hitachi Electronic Devices as a process quality control supervisor and shop-floor interpreter (Japanese/English). Demonstrating strategic acumen he pursued a Masters in Professional Accountancy and obtained his CPA license. 


Craig's next chapter unfolded with an eight-year tenure as an auditor for manufacturing clients at a prominent public accounting firm. His meticulous approach and financial acuity made him an invaluable asset in navigating complex financial landscapes. Ever adaptable, Craig seamlessly transitioned to business development, dedicating another eight years to fostering growth for the firm.


Since then, Craig has been brining his wealth of experience to his clients, engaging with them to provide strategic business development support and tailored accounting and finance solutions.