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Excellere Co-Founder David Kessenich dies after cancer battle

Kessenich formed Excellere in 2006 along with Robert Martin, who died in 2017, also to cancer.

David Kessenich, co-founder of Excellere Partners, died on Jan. 22 after a battle with cancer. He was 52.

Kessenich formed Excellere in 2006 along with Robert Martin, who died in 2017 after battling cancer.

It’s not clear if Kessenich’s death triggered a key-person provision in the fund. Excellere’s partner group comprises Brad Cornell, Mike Geldart, Ryan Glaws, Mike Hicks and Patrick O’Keefe.

No one has yet been named to lead the firm, sources told Buyouts Thursday. “Knowing how well they have been managed, I’m sure they have a plan in place,” one of the sources said.

No one from Excellere returned a request for comment Thursday.

“David, his co-founder Rob Martin, Matt Hicks and their entire team have built one of the best private equity groups in the USA,” said Tim Binkley, president of Binkley & Associates Inc. “The quality leadership they provided has always set them apart in their industry, always pursuing excellence.”

Prior to forming Excellere, Kessenich worked at KRG Capital Partners, as well as two other firms. Before, he worked at Continental Bank, where he provided investment banking services advising middle market companies and entrepreneurs.

Kessenich grew up on a third-generation farm in western Iowa, according to his obituary. He was the first person in his family to get a college education, graduating with honors from Creighton University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Kessenich is survived by his wife Colleen, and three children, his parents and four siblings, along with 15 nieces and nephews.

Excellere closed its first fund on $265 million in 2007, $465 million in 2010 and $595 million in 2015, according to a Form D fundraising document.

Correction: An earlier version of this report misspelled David Kessenich’s name. The report has been updated.

Action Item: Read Excellere’s Form ADV here: