We were founded in 1978 by Joe Rice, a former corporate lawyer from Sullivan & Cromwell and former investment banker; Martin Dubilier, a former McKinsey & Company partner and experienced corporate executive; Gene Clayton, a well-known crisis manager; and Bill Welsh, also a proven operating executive from Raytheon. With 35 years of history, CD&R today is recognized as one of the most experienced and respected private equity firms. We have institutionalized our distinctive approach to private equity investing – an approach that has become the reference point for blending investment skills with operating capabilities to build great businesses.
Our reputation as a business builder was established by such landmark transactions as the buyout of Harris Graphics in 1983, at the time one of the largest ever corporate divestiture accomplished by means of a private equity buyout structure, and the creation of Lexmark International from IBM’s printer and supplies business in 1998. The Firm and its investments have been the subject of numerous articles, including several case studies in the Harvard Business Review (“HBR”). In a 1995 HBR article that focused on the Firm and its culture, the authors concluded that CD&R provides important “insights into what constitutes best practice in the ownership and governance of corporate enterprises.” David Swensen, Chief Investment Officer of the Yale Investment Management Company, in his book Pioneering Portfolio Management (2009) stated that “by combining operational and financial skills, CD&R exemplifies the potential for unusual value creation.”
Joe Rice assumed the role of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 1991. Don Gogel became Chief Executive Officer in 1998 and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2012. Jack Welch, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Electric, became a Senior Advisor in 2001, and Sir Terry Leahy, former Chief Executive of Tesco, became a Senior Advisor in 2011, supplementing the Firm’s renowned group of full-time operating partners from some of the world’s most successful companies as well as operating advisors who are engaged by our funds.