Private equity expert invests in new institute at Haas
Allan Holt, MBA 76, knows how to create value. He’s been involved in private equity for more than 20 years, buying good companies and transforming them into great companies that generate sizable profits. He’s spent the majority of his career at the Carlyle Group, a global alternative asset manager in Washington, D.C. He joined when it was a young company that had just raised its first buyout fund of $100 million. Now, the company manages $180 billion, and Holt, as a managing director and co-head of the U.S. buyout group, manages over $25 billion in equity.
What translates into good business these days, Holt says, is social responsibility. In the past few years, Carlyle has put increased focus on its investment goals to ensure that companies they invest in have a positive impact on the employee base, community, and environment—a shift in mindset from years past, especially where the environment is concerned. “You used to look at it as protecting yourself from inheriting an environmental liability,” Holt says. “We’re no longer just looking at it as a problem but an opportunity.”
For example, when it bought the largest infant-formula company in China, Carlyle invested in quality control improvements that met or exceeded industry standards. In the U.S., Carlyle has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop ways to address sustainability. To improve workplace diversity among its own ranks, Carlyle welcomes Toigo Fellows—top minority MBA graduates pursuing careers in finance—to learn all aspects of the business and then have the opportunity for a permanent position at Carlyle.
Holt feels so strongly about the importance of social responsibility that he recently gave an endowment gift of $1 million to launch the new Institute for Business and Social Impact directed by Professor Laura Tyson. The mission of the institute (to be featured in the next issue) is to inspire and empower members of the Berkeley Haas community to develop innovative solutions to pressing social and environmental challenges.
Investing well and responsibly is something Holt believes business schools can and should teach. “We can make money for our investors and do good in the community and for the environment,” Holt says. “These are not mutually exclusive goals.”