The Private Equity Growth and Capital Council, of which Ken Mehlman is the Chairman, recently released a survey which shows that in the last year private equity firms invested some $443 billion in to approximately 2,300 companies in the United States.  Interestingly enough, this is a 27 percent increase from what private equity companies invested in the previous year.

Essentially, as Vice President of research at the PEGCC Bronwyn Bailey explains, private equity firms provide a boost to the economy through their investments, helping to build new factories, create jobs, and generally spur economic growth.  Providing investments that allow regional companies to expand also helps consumers have access to additional products, as well as potentially adding tax revenue to the areas that these companies expand into.

These company investments are often years in the making.  As a piece about the survey explains, it is not uncommon for private equity firms to buy a company to invest in only to sell it nearly a decade in the future.  Many of these companies are also older companies, as private equity investment “differs from venture capital firms” in that they do not tend to invest in start ups or flash in the pan social media companies.

Ken Mehlman was elected the new chairman of the Private Equity Growth Capital Council on December 19, 2013.  Mehlman also serves as a Member at Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts and is a founding member of the PEGCC.

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On March 20th, Ken Mehlman met with Buyouts at the offices of PEGCC founding member Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, where Mehlman is the global head of public affairs.  The group discussed private equity, Dodd-Frank, and Ken Mehlman’s priorities for his first year as chairman of the PEGCC.

Mehlman’s first statements dealt with his thanks for the work that the PEGCC president and CEO Steve Judge has done to engage policy makers.

“First of all I would say that thanks to the great work of Steve Judge (PEGCC president and CEO) and the team at the PEGCC the industry has done a very good job of engaging in dialog with policy makers about how we encourage more economic growth and also about how we make sure growth is sustainable from a financial system perspective.” He then went on to discuss his hope that the PEGCC can continue to be a part of that dialog as well as part of the solution on how to have better retirement growth and security for Americans throughout the country.

Buyouts also questioned Mehlman on the effort the PEGCC is making to ensure that the public knows that private equity is a force for economic good.  Mehlman explained this effort needs to be a two-way dialog where private equity companies listen as much as they persuade, but that the statistics show that private equity investment has done quite a bit of good for the economy.

“Our hope is to highlight companies that have been enhanced by our investment and by our hard work,” Ken Mehlman said.  “And also to point to millions of retirees who today have more security and enjoy a better time in their golden years because their pension fund decided to participate in private equity.”

Mehlman also mentioned that the PEGCC is watching Dodd-Frank, because “while Dodd-Frank wasn’t aimed at the private equity and growth capital industries there will be very important rules and regulations that impact directly our ability to operate, and to create value.”

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Ken Mehlman is the new face of Private Equity Growth Capital Council after he was elected Chairman of the Council’s Board of Directors.

With more than two decades of political and corporate experience, Ken Mehlman will help expand the PEGCC’s outreach and education efforts to engage stakeholders about the value of private equity. Mehlman will succeed Mark Tresnowski, the Managing Director and General Counsel at Madison Dearborn Partners.

“I’m privileged to succeed Mark as Chairman of the PEGCC,” said Ken Mehlman in a statement from Private Equity Growth Capital Council. “I have enormous respect for the PEGCC’s important work engaging with public policy makers to encourage more economic growth and retirement security for millions of Americans.”

Some of Ken Mehlman’s primary responsibilities will include engaging with lawmakers and discussing the positive light on the leveraged buyout industry.

Kenneth Mehlman has been with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts since 2008 where he now serves as Global Head of Public Affairs and oversees all external affairs, policy risk assessments and other opportunities. Mr. Mehlman also serves on the Robin Hood Foundation Veterans Advisory Board, the Council on Foreign Relations and is a trustee at Mt. Sinai Hospital of New York. As a former environmental lawyer, Ken Mehlman also heads KKR’s environmental social governance program, which has helped to curb greenhouse gas emissions and energy use at the firm’s different locations.

Before joining KKR, Ken Mehlman was a central figure in the 2004 election, managing George W. Bush’s presidential re-election campaign, while serving as the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. He famously came out as gay in 2010 and has since worked with Republican leaders and members of Congress to embrace civil marriage, freedom and liberty for same-sex couples. Ken Mehlman most recently worked with advocates in Maine to retool their advertising, which led to voters approving same-sex marriage in December 2012.

Ken Mehlman is excited for the opportunity to affect positive economic growth and said he shares the PEGCC’s goal of building a community of investors who “seek superior returns while also emphasizing active, responsible governance, long term investment and measuring success in years not quarters.”