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TA Associates Chair Battles Illness

The chairman of private-equity firm TA Associates, which manages around $16 billion in capital, is battling a serious illness, according to people briefed on the matter, reports Reuters.

(Reuters) The chairman of private-equity firm TA Associates, which manages about $16 billion in capital, is battling a serious illness, slowing some of his activities, according to people briefed on the matter.

The illness of Boston-based TA Associates Chairman Kevin Landry, a pioneer in the private equity industry, has become more widely known recently among the firm’s investment partners.

TA Associates declined to comment on the nature of Landry’s illness. The firm’s day-to-day activities are overseen by an executive committee.

Landry, 67, joined TA Associates more than 40 years ago as one of its first employees. He played a key role in capitalizing Biogen Idec Inc, which has grown into a biopharmaceutical giant with a market capitalization of more than $27 billion. Over the years, he has maintained a conservative investment culture at TA Associates, while other private-equity firms, such as Blackstone Group LP , have been criticized for using too much leverage in their takeovers.

Landry has served as a director at a number of publicly traded companies, sitting on the boards of Biogen Idec Inc and SBA Communications Corp , for example.

Landry is a board member at MetroPCS Communications Inc , where he is listed as the chairman of the compensation committee. MetroPCS did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

A licensed pilot, Landry is known for flying his own jet to meet prospective investment targets. He is known for his good humor and dogged nature.

In the book “A Vision for Venture Capital,” Landry gets credit for hunting down about $2 million in checks that were inadvertently thrown away by a TA Associates secretary in the late 1970s. The money was part of a $10 million capitalization fund.

Landry located the garbage truck, the dump site and finally the checks’ final destination at a recycling plant. After searching through bales of trash, the checks were found, according to the book’s account. Landry’s perseverance that night helped seal his future as a leader of the firm.