This week, we speak with Michael Fisch, CEO and co-founder of American Securities, a $27-billion dollar private equity firm. He is a managing member of the general partners of the American Securities Partners’ series of private equity funds and a member of the investment committee of AS Birch Grove. He was previously a partner in two private equity funds, a consultant in the Paris office of Bain & Co., and worked in the mergers and acquisitions department of Goldman Sachs.
We discuss how the firm was launched in 1994 with the William Rosenwald Family Associates as the lead investor. That family office was created to manage the assets of Julius Rosenwald, who had steered Sears into a retailing giant and took them public in 1906.
American Securities focuses on partnering with the companies they purchased, retaining the management team to run the business on an ongoing basis. This is unusual in the private equity space. Fisch cites studies that show in the average private equity transaction, 25% of the CEOs have exited by the closing, 50% are gone within two years, and only 25% remain after four years. American Securities differs from the industry in that since its launch 30 years ago, its CEO retention rate is over 80% – meaning, 80% of the management team running the acquired business is still running it today or at exit.
You can stream and download our full conversation, including any podcast extras, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, and Bloomberg. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Joel Tillinghast of Fidelity, where since 1989, he has managed the Fidelity Low-Priced Stock Fund (and others). Over his 32-year tenure, the fund has beaten 100% of peers, and outperformed the Russell 2000 benchmark by 3.49% annually, and has more than doubled the performance of the S&P 500.
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