GTCR Beefs Up Staff; Sees Big Deal Flow

GTCR Golder Rauner is adding double what it would normally add to its staff in a year as it prepares to invest its largest fund yet.

The Chicago-based mid-market firm recently poached Stephen Jeschke, who was a vice president at Bain Capital, to serve as a vice president in GTCR’s information services and technology group. The firm also re-hired John Kos, a former associate who is returning after Harvard Business School.

GTCR also is looking to hire at the vice-president level for its financial services and technology group, and its capital markets group. Phil Canfield, a principal at the firm, told Buyouts the added resources are needed to support an increase in deal activity.

The firm, founded by the late Stanley Golder in 1980, is beefing up staff at a time when it is perhaps at the height of its powers. Its funds by and large have performed well—GTCR Fund VII, a $2 billion fund raised in 1999, has generated a 2.4x investment multiple and an internal rate of return of 21.9 percent as of Sept. 30, 2010 for the Washington State Investment Board—and on Feb. 22 the firm announced the closing of its ninth fund at $3.25 billion, the firm’s largest yet.

“We just think it’s a pretty good time to hire people,” said Canfield. “Our firm is in a really good place from an investment performance perspective, and we think we have an investment strategy and deal execution approach that’s different and works well in this environment. And we’d like to press that advantage right now.”

GTCR typically backs management teams to create platforms in health care, financial services and technology services. Deal activity has been somewhat slow but is picking up in recent months, Canfield said. The firm is a few weeks from closing on a new platform deal in the financial services sector and is expecting add-on acquisitions for a couple of its health care companies.

“We’re finally in an environment where transactions are occurring and financing is available,” he said. “Prices are high sometimes, but there are carve-outs and under-managed but not broken businesses—that’s exactly what we’re looking for, and there’s a lot of that out there right now.”