John C. Deane

John Deane is a founder of The Alta Group and its chief executive officer.

He leads the global consultancy composed of five major practice areas: consulting, merger & acquisitions, legal support services, professional development, and vendor and captive programs.

Prior to co-founding The Alta Group, he served as a principal in the firm of Amembal, Deane & Associates, the world’s leading provider of training, educational and consulting services for the equipment leasing industry. He has been CEO of both Great Western Leasing and BancOne Leasing and has served as the CFO and president of several major financial corporations.

His broad expertise over more than 35 years was fortified by his work as chairman of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) and as a member of the World Leasing Council. Click here for his full bio.

”Grim confidence.” That’s how executives at a recent equipment leasing roundtable characterized attitudes in the industry today. It’s a far cry from how things were in the early 1970s when John C. Deane entered the business.

Deane, who began his career in banking and today is CEO of the global consulting firm, The Alta Group, helped pioneer the equipment leasing and finance business.

“Economic factors today are more significant to our industry than ever,” Deane said in an interview recently for Leasing Avenues. Today the action “is not in product development, but in management and execution,” he said.

When Deane entered equipment leasing, the business was new and entrepreneurial, and the U.S. was in recession. Fifty years later, the industry is mature and the nation is emerging from an even deeper recession. But Deane sees numerous opportunities in new vertical niches, in international expansion (both inbound and outbound), and in trimming costs and improving management.

Although the last decade wrought more negative than positive occurrences for the industry, solid growth occurred mid-way through, Deane said, allowing many companies to survive and prosper. The industry “hasn’t done anything wrong,” he said; “[but] there may have been some ‘overly creative’ structuring in the late 1990s.”

Deane practiced equipment leasing and finance from 1971 to 1992 and then started The Alta Group. Soon afterward, the consultancy produced Perfect Storms, a research paper written for the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation that is still downloaded today. “It was a deep dive into what went wrong in some well-known equipment leasing companies,” Deane said.

In the video linked to this article, Deane talks about his entry into equipment leasing and the satisfaction the business has provided over the years. He also discusses high points of his career, one being his role as chairman of the ELFA.

John Deane’s Biography >>