Remembering Lionel Pincus ’56

Lionel Pincus ’56,who played a pioneering role in the growth of the private equity industry, died on October 10.

October 15, 2009
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Lionel Pincus ’56, who played a pioneering role in the growth of the private equity industry, died on October 10.

Pincus built his firm, Warburg Pincus, into one of the largest players in the private equity industry with nine offices across the United States, Europe and Asia. The firm has invested more than $29 billion in more than 600 companies around the world.

In 1978, Pincus helped convince the U.S. Labor Department to revise its regulations so that pension funds could invest in private equity and venture capital, resulting in unprecedented growth in the industry. In 1980, Warburg Pincus was the first firm to raise $100 million.

Pincus was a member of the School’s Board of Overseers for 25 years and was also chair emeritus of the trustees of Columbia University. “His leadership as a University trustee, trustee and trustee chair emeritus, and member of Columbia Business School’s Board of Overseers was marked by exceptional insight, unfailing decency and a passionate dedication to his alma mater,” University President Lee Bollinger, Dean Glenn Hubbard and William Campbell, chair of the University’s trustees, said in a joint statement. “As a Columbia benefactor, Mr. Pincus was extraordinarily generous to many schools and programs across the University.”

Pincus was a founding director of the National Venture Capital Association and also served as a trustee of the German Marshall Fund of the United States of America from 1982 to 1988. He served on the board of directors of numerous private and public organizations and philanthropic institutions, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Citizens Budget Commission, Montefiore Medical Center, the National Park Foundation, the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Foundation, the Partnership for New York City, the New York City Investment Fund and the School of American Ballet.

Pincus is survived by two sons and three grandchildren. His son Matthew and daughter-in-law Sarah Min graduated from the School in 2002.

Read obituaries of Lionel Pincus in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

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