Pat Haden Leaves RLH After 23 Years for USC

Pat Haden is leaving private equity firm Riordan, Lewis & Haden after 23 years, to become athletic director at his alma matter, the University of Southern California.

J. Christopher Lewis, co-founder and managing partner of RLH, says Haden had been courted by USC for only a short time. Haden, 57, reportedly turned down the offer twice before discussing the position with Lewis last Sunday. “This all happened very quickly,” Lewis says.

Haden, a partner at Riordan, starts at USC on Aug. 3. He will remain an investor in RLH funds and stay on the board of Apothecary Shops. He is expected to remain close to RLH, Lewis says. “But you have to be respectful that he will have a full time position that is very demanding and very high profile,” he says.

Both Haden and Lewis attended USC as undergrads during the 1970s but didn’t know each other (“I knew of him,” Lewis quipped). Haden was quarterback of the Trojans, was named co-MVP of the 1975 Rose Bowl, got a Rhodes Scholarship and played for Los Angeles Rams from 1976 to 1981. He joined RLH in 1987.

At USC, Haden will replace Mike Garrett, who has come under criticism for his handling of scandals involving Trojans Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo. Last month, the NCAA slapped USC with four years of probation, a two year bowl ban and severe football restrictions after finding major rules violations in the athletic department, mainly in football and men’s basketball teams, according to ESPN.

“Pat will set the right tone for the athletic program and he will return USC to great image that it’s always had,” Lewis says.

RLH, a middle market firm that invests in healthcare, business services and government services, won’t be looking to replace Haden. His departure also does not trigger a key man event, Lewis says. “I doubt whether we’ll bring in a new GP,” Lewis says. “We have a very experienced team. I’m fully confident that we’ll pick up the slack.

However, RLH may hire an individual below the level of GP. “We’ll see how that goes,” Lewis says.

Haden could not be reached for comment.