Blackstone Group hires ex-FDA commissioner as senior adviser to focus on life sciences, healthcare, Webster Equity hires healthcare banker Todd Rudsenske, GI Partners raising next flagship fund

Ex-FDA commissioner joins Blackstone as a senior advisor and GI Partners is targeting $3.25 billion for its sixth flagship fund.

Morning!

Considering the tragedy and chaos of the past few days, it was moving to see two astronauts launched into space for the first time in a while. And in an effort undertaken by a private sector company …

On Sunday, the two astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken successfully docked their capsule with the International Space Station. It’s an example of the greatness that can be achieved trough partnerships between the public and private sector.

Injustice: Robert Smith, founder and CEO of Vista Equity, sent a poignant memo to Vista staff about the death of George Floyd and the reality of racism in the US. Dealbook has the full memo. Here’s a piece of it:
I can still vividly recall the pain I felt as a youth when I found my mother and father comforting each other as they just learned that my uncle was shot dead, by a white gas station attendant. I was quite confused by this as my uncle, who had just received his masters degree and was recently married, was quite excited about having landed a job with the State of Colorado inspecting various facilities across the state. Apparently this gas station attendant couldn’t imagine why an African American would have a state gas card and felt the appropriate action was to shoot and kill him. This was almost 50 years ago, and the pain still lingers.

In so many ways, this is a better, stronger, more inclusive country than it has ever been. In other ways, progress still feels so elusive. There is still so much hate, bigotry, anger, violence, and misunderstanding in our society that’s a lot harder to overlook after the events of this week.

Hire: Long-time healthcare banker Todd Rudsenske is joining Webster Equity as the firm doubles down on its healthcare strategy, writes Sarah Pringle on PE Hub. Rudsenske will oversee behavioral health-related portfolio assets at Webster, she writes. He will join the boards of Baymark Health Services, Discovery Behavioral Health and InBloom Autism.

Rudenske told Sarah he expects behavioral health will stand out as an important area of additional investment in the aftermath of the pandemic crisis.

“The need for more access points coming out of this pandemic is going to be greater than ever,” he told PE Hub. “Think about the number of individuals that will come through this period with economic losses, job losses and healthcare challenges stemming through covid.”

Read her story here on PE Hub.

More PE: David Fann, vice chairman of Aksia, told the board of the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System that he would put even more money into private equity in the downturn, writes Justin Mitchell on Buyouts.

“If this was my money, and it wasn’t [the money of] an institution that needs to maintain asset allocations and price and asset diversification, I would overweight to private equity,” Fann said during LACERS’ board meeting last week, which was conducted via teleconference. “But I also recognize that you are a public pension fund and you have to stay within your guardrails.”

Private equity can capitalize on lower valuations on good companies and private equity firms are better positioned to make operational improvements at companies that need such improvements, he said.

“They can buy businesses, they can restructure it without having to report quarterly earnings, they have the ability to combine businesses more readily than a lot of other companies or corporations,” he said. “And finally … private equity is able to exploit the capital structures and the available stability of the marketplace or instability of the marketplace, depending on risk-reward, to its advantage.”

Read Justin’s story here on Buyouts.

Top Scoops
Blackstone Group hired Mark McClellan, ex-FDA commissioner and administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, as a senior adviser. McClellan will add his expertise across life sciences, healthcare, economics and public policy to advise Blackstone businesses, specifically on the firm’s growth and life sciences teams. Read our news brief here.

GI Partners is targeting $3.25 billion for its sixth flagship fund that it’s raising right in the middle of the pandemic downturn that has cause PE fundraising in general to slow, I wrote on Buyouts this morning. Read my story here.

Have a strong Monday! Hit me up as always with tips n’ gossip, feedback or just to chat at cwitkowsky@buyoutsinsider.com, on Twitter or find me on LinkedIn.