Kristin Williams Mugford

Melvin Tukman Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

Kristin Mugford is the Melvin Tukman Senior Lecturer of Business Administration in the Finance Unit at the Harvard Business School.  She currently teaches "Creating Value through Corporate Restructuring," a popular elective course that analyzes how economic stress and restructuring creates challenges and opportunities for businesses and their stakeholders. She previously taught "Venture Capital and Private Equity," an elective course that explores the private equity industry in the United States and abroad. 


In 2013 Kristin retired from her position as Managing Director of Bain Capital, one of the world's leading private investment firms. Bain Capital and its affiliated advisors manage over $75 billion and make private equity, public equity, fixed income and credit, venture capital, and absolute return investments across multiple geographies and industries. 

Kristin joined Bain Capital's private equity business in 1994 and at the age of 32, became the first female Managing Director in the firm's history. Kristin helped start Bain Capital Credit (founded as Sankaty Advisors), and prior to her retirement was responsible for the oversight of their high yield investments and a senior member of Bain Capital Credit's management team and investment committee. Bain Capital Credit is one of the leading corporate and distressed debt managers, managing over $30 billion with 230 employees in seven offices around the world. Kristin is currently a Senior Director of the firm.  

Kristin began her career at the Walt Disney Company, where she worked in corporate strategic planning and the consumer products division. She graduated from Harvard Business School as a Baker Scholar and holds an AB with honors from Harvard College. 

Cases and Teaching Materials

  1. Bankruptcy at Caesars Entertainment

    Kristin Mugford and David Chan

    Caesars Entertainment was a large casino operator in the United States that had been purchased in a 2008 leveraged buyout by Apollo and TPG. In January 2015, Caesars Entertainment Operating Company (CEOC), its largest subsidiary, filed for Chapter 11. This set up a battle between the company and a set of large, distressed investors. At issue was not only how to restructure the business and reduce Caesars' debt, but also multiple lawsuits alleging that the company had damaged creditors in their quest to preserve equity value. Of particular focus were a series of transactions that took place during 2013 and 2014 to sell assets from one subsidiary to another and to eliminate a valuable parent guarantee that had been granted to CEOC creditors. This case provides a good example of a variety of "defensive maneuvers" employed by companies and their private equity sponsors to protect a troubled investment.

    Keywords: gaming; chapter 11; fraudulent conveyance; Apollo; TPG; bankruptcy; Leveraged Buyouts; Restructuring; Capital Structure; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Private Equity; Financial Management; Lawsuits and Litigation; Negotiation; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; Las Vegas;


    Mugford, Kristin, and David Chan. "Bankruptcy at Caesars Entertainment." Harvard Business School Case 216-052, February 2016. View Details
  2. Bankruptcy in the City of Detroit

    Stuart Gilson, Kristin Mugford and Annelena Lobb

    The June 2013 bankruptcy of Detroit, Michigan, was, at the time, the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history. Detroit had struggled for years with a weakening tax base, high unemployment, a heavy debt load, and increasing retiree costs. These financial strains led to cuts in basic public services, declines in population, and significant urban blight. The State of Michigan appointed an emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to lead the city though the restructuring process. In March 2014, Orr and his team put forth a restructuring plan to the city's creditors that provided for needed reinvestment in city services, but low recoveries for unsecured creditors. The city's plan also proposed that the Detroit Art Collection be transferred to a trust funded by philanthropists, with the proceeds accruing solely to retirees rather than to all creditors. Orr and his team must now find consensus on a plan that meets the needs of Detroit and is acceptable to its creditors.

    Keywords: Chapter 9; chapter 11; restructuring; Detroit; Financial Liquidity; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; City; Government Administration; Public Sector; Financial Crisis; Financial Management; Failure; Labor Unions; Urban Development; Public Administration Industry; Michigan;


    Gilson, Stuart, Kristin Mugford, and Annelena Lobb. "Bankruptcy in the City of Detroit." Harvard Business School Case 215-070, April 2015. (Revised January 2017.) View Details
  3. Harrah's Entertainment

    Paul A. Gompers, Kristin Mugford and J. Daniel Kim

    This case examines the issues of establishing and managing a capital structure for the leveraged buyout of Harrah's Entertainment.

    Keywords: private equity; leveraged buyouts; debt markets; loan contracts; covenants; casinos; gaming; Private Equity; Entertainment and Recreation Industry; United States;


    Gompers, Paul A., Kristin Mugford, and J. Daniel Kim. "Harrah's Entertainment." Harvard Business School Case 213-054, October 2012. View Details
  4. Bain Capital: Outback Steakhouse

    Paul Gompers, Kristin Mugford and J. Daniel Kim

    Bain Capital had purchased Outback Steakhouse in 2007 and despite the myriad initiatives to improve operations, the financial collapse in 2008 threatened the company's ability to meet its loan covenants. Outback's performance steadily declined throughout the year. How should Bain Capital manage the company's debt while improving Outback's performance?

    Keywords: Private Equity; Acquisition; Financial Services Industry; Food and Beverage Industry;


    Gompers, Paul, Kristin Mugford, and J. Daniel Kim. "Bain Capital: Outback Steakhouse." Harvard Business School Case 212-087, February 2012. (Revised November 2012.) View Details