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Wednesday, December 12, 2007
posted by jason | 10:51 AM | permalink
(H/t Elect Romney Blog)

From Private Equity International:

Romney’s nice-guy persona was backed up by the confidence someone who succeeded at everything he did. The undisputed alpha dog Bain Capital had no need to bark. Even years after his departure, it is notable that at a firm bursting with self-confidence and ambition, Romney is still viewed with something akin to awe. Says Josh Bekenstein, a Bain Capital managing director and one of the firm’s first professionals: “The thing that one cannot overstate is how smart Mitt He’s a very, very smart guy. We interact with a lot of smart people, but I never felt that I was in a room where there were people that were smarter than Mitt.”

“Mitt was someone who was almost too good to be true,” says Charles “Chip” Baird, the founder Greenwich, Connecticut private equity firm North Castle Capital Partners and a consultant at Bain & Co. during Romney’s years there. “He is so good at so many different things, and that’s what drives some people bonkers.”

While Bain Capital worked relentlessly to get the best terms for the firm, within the firm several current and former employees describe a general sense that compensation was remarkably fair under Romney. “Mitt was very generous with economics,” says someone who worked for Romney. “People got paid what they deserved.”

While Bain & Co. owned a stake in the early Bain Capital funds, the creation of Bain Capital Inc. in 1992 saw Romney become the 100 percent owner of the firm’s management company, which technically gave him control of decision making at the firm. In practice, however, Romney broadly shared economics and kept in place a governance structure characterised by consensus-building among the many professionals. The other Bain Capital professionals saw Mitt’s ownership not only as acceptable, but as a much simpler alternative to the many other potential structures, given the trust they placed in Romney. “People were willing to concede that,” says Rehnert. “He had established enough credibility, enough trust, that it was better to have him be the sole decision maker rather than have a bunch of young guys beating each other up” in deciding on a shared ownership structure.

People at Bain Capital also observed that Romney would religiously head home early each Monday for an evening with his family. “He was very committed to that. He’d just get up from his desk and go,” says someone who worked with him at the time. “But he’d work his ass off the rest of the time.”

Romney’s decision to transfer the firm’s management company to its employees stands in contrast to the many other examples of founders now seeking to monetise their respective franchises. “Mitt could have kept that,” says a former colleague. “Maybe he could have put it in a trust, but he chose the. . . approach to pass it on to the generation of people who are producing, and not the entrepreneurial ‘I founded it and therefore I deserve $7 billion’” approach. “He chose to go away with hundreds of millions of dollars,” adds the former colleague. “Could he have had billions? Sure.”
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