C. Kevin Landry, Long-Time Head of Private Equity Firm TA Associates, Passes Away at 69
Private equity pioneer and civic benefactor known for commitment to excellence
BOSTON - With profound sadness, TA Associates today announces the passing of its long-time leader, C. Kevin Landry, 69.
“Kevin was deeply committed to the success of TA, our limited partners and our portfolio companies,” said Richard D. Tadler, Chairman, TA Associates. “Kevin approached every opportunity and every challenge with passion and vigor, and held himself and TA to the highest standards. We will deeply miss his wisdom, his wit and his friendship.”
Mr. Landry helped define the growth private equity business. He spent his entire professional career at TA, hired by founder Peter Brooke when TA started as a Boston-based venture capital firm in 1968. Mr. Landry was 24 years old, fresh out of the Wharton School of Finance, MBA in hand, and by his own admission, unsure exactly what the nascent venture capital industry was all about. He liked to say his only job experience prior to his private equity career was driving a cab in Cambridge and serving as a helicopter repairman in the Army Reserves. He was a quick study, however, with venture capital successes such as Biogen, which he helped found with Nobel laureates Walter Gilbert of Harvard and Phillip Sharp of MIT.
With a gregarious, plainspoken manner, agile mind and tireless work ethic, Mr. Landry advanced quickly into a leadership role at TA. He became a General Partner in 1972, Managing Partner in 1982, CEO in 1984 upon the firm’s incorporation and Chairman in 2007. He remained actively involved in the firm even as he gradually reduced his day-to-day involvement at TA over the past several years, retiring as Chairman in 2012 and serving as Senior Advisor at the time of his death. Under his leadership, TA grew into a truly global firm, adding offices in Menlo Park, California (1982), London (2003), Mumbai (2009) and Hong Kong (2011).
“Kevin was my second hire and his ability and self-confidence were immediately apparent,” said Peter Brooke, Chairman, Advent International Corporation, the firm he founded upon leaving TA Associates in 1984. “Kevin was talented, blunt and tenacious, with an intense desire to do well for the company. He also had a great feel for people and an innate ability to determine who could best execute a plan. As I watched Kevin’s abilities carry him to ever greater achievements, and as our professional and personal relationship deepened over the years, I truly reveled in his success.”
Mr. Landry helped shepherd TA’s evolution, starting in the late 1970s, from an early stage venture capital investor to a global growth private equity firm focused on minority recapitalizations and majority buyouts of profitable, fast-growing companies in selected industries. He is credited with maintaining a disciplined approach through the cycles of the global economy and in the face of market bubbles and investing fads. Perhaps most importantly, he institutionalized an investment origination methodology at TA grounded in industry expertise and exhaustive research into tens of thousands of businesses. A licensed pilot, Mr. Landry flew colleagues to hundreds of meetings as part of this labor-intensive investment origination effort.
The TA model of growth industry-based investment origination proved enduring and highly successful. Today, TA is one of the largest and most experienced middle-market growth private equity firms and has invested in more than 430 companies globally. The firm has raised $18 billion in capital, due in large part to Mr. Landry traveling the world and developing relationships with institutional investors.
Mr. Landry liked to describe himself as an old fashioned investor, interested in good management, free cash flow and clean balance sheets. Since he became Managing Partner in 1982, the Internal Rate of Return on TA’s investments, net of all fees and expenses, has consistently beaten the market and private equity benchmarks. TA also has a legacy forged by Mr. Landry for integrity and putting investors first. On several occasions, at his direction, TA voluntarily made fee and other concessions to TA’s investors because “it was the right thing to do.”
TA is also well known for a stable partnership fostered by the fair, meritocratic incentive system Mr. Landry designed. While for many years he was the name and face most closely associated with TA, he was backed by a carefully assembled team of highly qualified managing directors. Its 80 investment professionals have over 650 collective years of relevant experience and the firm’s managing directors have worked together for more than 20 years, through six generations of funds.
“As an investor and a leader, Kevin demonstrated remarkable judgment and foresight,” said Brian J. Conway, a Managing Director and Member of TA’s Executive Committee. “He built a culture that values working hard to create opportunities, fact-based analysis, intellectual honesty and always doing the right thing for our investors. He designed a merit-based incentive system that rewards results. We will honor his memory by continuing to pursue TA’s mission of helping great management teams create substantial value for our investors, while adhering to the highest standards of ethics.”
Mr. Landry served on many Boards during his career, including Alex. Brown Incorporated, Ameritrade Holding Corporation, Biogen, Continental Cablevision, Instinet Group, Keystone Group, MetroPCS Communications, SBA Communications and Standex International Corporation. In addition, he was actively involved in many of TA’s most successful investments, including Affiliated Managers Group, AIM Management Group (now Invesco Ltd.), ANSYS, Asurion Corporation, BMC Software, Invitrogen Corporation, McAfee Inc., Network Appliance and Tempur-Pedic International.
Mr. Landry was also a former Director of the National Venture Capital Association and was recognized by his peers by being elected to the Private Equity Hall of Fame in 1997.
Mr. Landry was active in Boston’s civic, educational and philanthropic communities. He served as a Trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts from 1998 to 2010, and as an Honorary Trustee from 2010 to 2013. He was a Trustee of Middlesex School for 34 years, including 25 years as Treasurer, and was honored with the Henry Cabot Lodge ’20 Distinguished Alumni Award at his 50th reunion in 2012. Together, Mr. Landry and his wife Barrie have been major benefactors to Harvard University, Middlesex School, the Westover School, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Museum of Fine Arts, UNICEF and the Maranyundo Initiative.
A significant focus of Mr. Landry’s charitable efforts was Harvard, an important part of his life. He graduated from Harvard College in 1966, majoring in Economics, though he liked to joke that his real major was poker at the Fox Club with fellow classmates. Mr. Landry served on the Executive Committee of Harvard’s Committee on University Resources, on the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) Dean’s Council, and as Co-Chair of the Boston FAS Major Gifts Committee and the Class of 1966 Reunions. The Landrys funded the Jeremy Knowles Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory, Harvard’s first interdisciplinary teaching space supporting active learning across the sciences and engineering. In addition, they endowed the women’s ice hockey coach position and assisted with overall improvement of the Bright Hockey Center. In honor of the Landry family’s longtime support of Harvard hockey, the University is renaming the facility the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.
Mr. Landry received the Flood Leadership Award and the David T. W. McCord ’21 Award in recognition of his extraordinary leadership and service to the Harvard College Fund. In 2010, he was awarded the Harvard Medal, the highest honor bestowed by Harvard on its alumni in recognition of extraordinary service to Harvard University.
“Kevin Landry was a great Harvard citizen,” said Drew Gilpin Faust, President, Harvard University. “He enthusiastically supported academics and athletics, thoughtfully engaged in philanthropy, and eagerly shared his perspectives with deans and other leaders across the University, always with equal measures of candor and care. The Harvard Medal is our highest alumni honor, and it is a recognition of which Kevin was most deserving. His deep love of the College and his extraordinary contributions, in particular his leadership of the Major Gifts Committee, have inspired countless alumni. I feel fortunate to have known Kevin, and I am confident his legacy will be long lasting.”
In grateful recognition of Mr. Landry’s contributions to so many lives, his partners at TA Associates recently made a $10 million gift to Harvard University to endow the Landry Cancer Biology Consortium and the Landry Cancer Research fellowships. The gift will fund research on cancer biology and treatments, including lung cancer studies.
Christopher Kevin Landry was born on April 18, 1944 in Boston and grew up in Arlington and Andover, Massachusetts. His father was Christopher Lee Landry, a neurosurgeon, and his mother was Barbara (Sullivan) Landry. He graduated from Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts in 1962, received a BA degree in Economics from Harvard College in 1966, and an MBA degree from the Wharton School of Finance in 1968. Mr. Landry was a devoted husband to Barrie (Hogan), his wife of 46 years, a loving father to Christopher Landry of New York, New York, Kimberly GwinnLandry and her husband Mark of Wellesley, Massachusetts, and Jennifer Landry Le and her husband Khoa of Riverside, Connecticut; and a loving grandfather to his nine grandchildren, Kamron Landry, Azlan Landry, Owen GwinnLandry, Eli GwinnLandry, Reese GwinnLandry, Phinley GwinnLandry, Kai Le, Katie Le and Zoe Le. He is also survived by his brother Brian Landry of Katonah, New York, and his sisters Brenda Landry and Christina Landry of Sarasota, Florida.
A Memorial Service for family and friends will be held at Memorial Church at Harvard University on August 15, 2013 at 11:00am.
At the request of Mr. Landry’s family, in lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the Landry Cancer Biology Consortium, established through the generosity and commitment to Mr. Landry from his partners and colleagues at TA Associates. Checks should be made payable to Harvard University, referencing the Landry Cancer Consortium, and sent to:
Recording Secretary Office
Harvard University Development
124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138