Happy voting day!
We’re going to spend today’s column remembering an industry pioneer.
I recall talking to Jay Fewel, former private equity chief for the Oregon treasury, after he decided to retire in 2013.
He called me from the side of the road where he had pulled over on his way to a fishing expedition out in the Pacific Northwest.
We spent the conversation talking about fishing, camping, the Pacific northwest and how he was going to spend his time now that he had decided to retire. Fewel spent a quarter-century as one of the most powerful limited partners in the business, having backed the early efforts of firms like TPG and Providence Equity.
What Fewel wasn’t talking about was private equity; all I really wanted to know about was his experiences in the industry and the changes he had seen take place over the years. But that wasn’t where his mind was. He had pulled over on his road trip to talk to me about fishing.
And I was ok with that because I love fishing. But as an interview for an article, it didn’t really work out. Yet, that’s one of those interviews I’ll never forget. Because here was a guy I never met (though like anyone around the PE industry I definitely knew his name), who was talking to me like an old friend. It was refreshing but kept me off balance. It made me want to call him on a weekly basis and talk about fishing.
When I heard Jay died recently, I immediately thought of that conversation and wondered exactly what kind of person he was. That’s always the thought — who was this person and what legacy have they left behind? I’ll leave it to some of the biggest names in the business to explain much better than I could (read my Buyoutsstory here). I asked several GPs for their thoughts on Jay late yesterday and received very quick responses, another sign of his impact and legacy:
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