Glenn Youngkin: the private equity multi-millionaire aiming to run Virginia

Two years earlier than he resigned as co-chief government of Carlyle Group to run for Republican governor of Virginia, Glenn Youngkin steered the personal fairness big into one of many largest infrastructure initiatives within the US: the $7bn redevelopment of Terminal 1 at JFK Airport in New York Metropolis.

Youngkin helped forge consensus on a watershed deal for Carlyle, profitable backing from a coalition that included then-New York governor Andrew Cuomo, labour unions, airways from France to Japan, and personal builders. It even acquired funding from a fund led by former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Magic Johnson.

That type of dealmaking is a part of what Youngkin is pitching to voters in Virginia as he seeks to defeat Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a good governor’s race. The off-year contest is being carefully watched as a bellwether of US voter sentiment a yr after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump within the state by greater than 10 factors.

With election day on Tuesday, the most recent polls present the 2 candidates neck and neck. A Washington Submit survey this weekend confirmed McAuliffe main Youngkin by only one level — effectively inside the margin of error.

The McAuliffe marketing campaign has sought to tie Youngkin to Trump, whose deep unpopularity in Virginia fuelled 4 years of electoral success for Democrats there. Youngkin has tried, generally clumsily, to enchantment to each the conservative rural voters who stay loyal to the ex-president whereas trying to win again independents and former Republicans in additional prosperous suburban areas, such because the Washington DC suburbs.

Within the remaining weeks of his marketing campaign, Youngkin has emphasised “tradition battle” messages on schooling coverage, akin to the ability of academics’ unions and the usage of so-called “vital race concept” in school rooms.

“Youngkin could be very rich and self-financing, and has been intelligent about being the type of affable ‘aw shucks’ man in an effort to slide the noose on Trump, and he’s finished it fairly efficiently,” stated Matt Bennett of Democratic think-tank Third Manner.

Youngkin is a conservative Christian who was born in Virginia and raised 4 youngsters together with his spouse within the rich DC suburb of Nice Falls. He entered the political enviornment after a quarter-century profession at Carlyle Group, the celebrated Washington-based buyout agency the place he rose to co-CEO however later misplaced an influence battle.

Youngkin stepped down from Carlyle in July 2020 after almost three years of shared management with dealmaker Kewsong Lee in a cut up position that firm insiders say deteriorated into hostility. Lee turned Carlyle’s sole chief government; Youngkin left and months later launched his bid for governor.

“They had been very completely different personalities. Kew was a way more traditional sharp-elbowed New Yorker. Glenn was Mr Good Man, a tradition service and a nice individual,” stated one former government at Carlyle who spent almost twenty years with the agency and not too long ago solid his poll for Youngkin in Virginia. “It was like mixing oil and water.”

Terry McAuliffe campaigning in Virginia on Saturday
Youngkin’s Democrat rival Terry McAuliffe speaks to supporters in Norfolk, Virginia © Getty Photos

Youngkin was recruited by Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein in 1995 from consulting agency McKinsey, the place he labored after incomes an MBA from Harvard. He was identified much less as a superb investor than a talented operational knowledgeable, who was typically given the duty of fixing underperforming operations as Carlyle globalised its enterprise after which went public.

Within the early 2000s, he opened Carlyle’s places of work in London and helped launch many European-based funds. Carlyle’s 2006 leveraged buyout of pure fuel pipeline firm Kinder Morgan for $22bn was Youngkin’s signature deal.

Because the 2008 monetary disaster hit, Youngkin stepped again from dealmaking to concentrate on the agency’s broader technique. The next yr he took on accountability for Carlyle’s day-to-day operations because the buyout group navigated the wreckage of the disaster, after which turned chief working officer.

In 2014, he was named co-president, signalling that he was being groomed to take Carlyle’s reins as soon as its triumvirate of billionaire co-founders — Rubenstein, William Conway, and Daniel D’Aniello — stepped down. Three years later, in October 2017, the succession was formalised when Youngkin was named co-chief government alongside Lee, who had been recruited by Conway from competitor Warburg Pincus in 2013.

However Lee outmanoeuvred Youngkin by assuming management of Carlyle’s international personal fairness and credit score companies, the agency’s two largest items. Within the energy cut up, Youngkin took management of operations and smaller funding divisions centered on actual property and infrastructure investments.

“Kew mainly took the great companies for his personal,” stated the previous government. “He made a superb strategic determination on day one.”

Throughout Youngkin’s tenure as co-CEO, Carlyle did not emerge from a stretch of underperformance, anchored by overly complicated and dear international operations and poor funding efficiency, significantly in hedge funds and the power sector, two areas the place Youngkin had accountability.

Lee has cemented his grip on Carlyle since Youngkin’s departure. Carlyle not too long ago reported file quarterly income as Lee confirmed progress on an bold $130bn fundraising goal. The agency’s inventory has doubled since he took over.

On the marketing campaign path, Youngkin doesn’t disguise from his personal fairness background, characterising his profession as a risk-taker and turnround artist. In a 30-second marketing campaign advert, he describes becoming a member of Carlyle from McKinsey as a “leap of religion” wager on a small firm that grew massive.

“I turned co-CEO. And at the moment, Carlyle employs almost 2,000 individuals. We invested in good firms, and good individuals, and made them nice,” says Youngkin within the advert. “Now, I’m taking one other leap of religion, operating for governor. As a result of collectively, we will take Virginia from good to nice.”

His opponent McAuliffe, a longtime Democratic fundraiser and shut ally of Invoice and Hillary Clinton who served as Virginia’s governor from 2013 to 2017, has struggled to make use of Youngkin’s personal fairness profession, or his roughly $400m fortune consisting principally of Carlyle inventory, in opposition to him. Photographs at Carlyle’s controversial offers in nursing houses haven’t landed in the best way Barack Obama was in a position to sway voters in opposition to former Bain Capital head Mitt Romney within the 2012 presidential election.

“It didn’t promote,” stated Larry Sabato, founding father of the College of Virginia Heart for Politics, of the McAuliffe marketing campaign’s assaults on Youngkin’s enterprise file. “All [voters] know is the man is value lots of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars}, and to the overwhelming majority of People, that alerts success.”

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