The past year has seen private equity companies becoming far more public than ever before. With former private equity Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in the spotlight, countless remarks, ads, and campaigns were pointed in their direction.
But Ken Mehlman has spent the past year keeping that fire under control. As the Global Head of Public Affairs for KKR, previous head of the RNC, and President G.W. Bush’s campaign manager, he knows how to get a message out to the public.
Private equity firms don’t traditionally like to share any information with the public or the media about operations or any specifics, and that has caused a number of misconceptions to arise. By working with the Private Equity Growth Capital Council (PEGCC), Ken Mehlman has successfully spearheaded the movement to get that information out there.
“Private equity is no longer private,” he says of the recent limelight the industry has been receiving in a piece with Fortune Magazine.
One of the misconceptions he’s working to overcome is that private equity is a heartless firm, when in fact they often pay close attention to what people want and need. “You can’t invest in large businesses around the world today unless you are willing to help provide a thorough understanding of who you really are, and engage around issues that affect things like the environment, workers, and local communities.”
Another thing to remember, Mehlman says, is that private equity provides a nice boost to the economy, taking bigger risks than most companies and therefore seeing a bigger return. By doing so, they are able to turn struggling companies around, rather than letting them fail. They can provide valuable resources and training to portfolio companies as well.
Ken Mehlman has been the leading influencer for getting PEGCC to the successful point it is at today. He provided a vision and helped the movement of taking a traditionally guarded industry and making it visible and transparent to the American public.