People who see things differently and do things differently interest me. I’ve said before that perspective is everything. So, I was pleased to read about Jonathan Nelson of Providence Equity Partners this weekend in my beloved Fortune Magazine.
Jonathan is running one of the world’s most successful private equity firms — #6 on the Fortune private equity power list. Now, I don’t care much for private equity firms, but I’m intrigued by Jonathan and the firm he’s built. Why? He’s done it sleepy Providence Rhode Island instead of on Wall Street. Also, he approaches business knowing that relationships matter, and knowing it’s not just the money that talks. He’s portrayed as low-key, which is uncommon amongst private equity superstars (at least those heralded by the media).
In the Fortune article, Jonathon was being credited with the biggest private equity deal ever — the $51 billion buyout of BCE — Canada’s largest, yet beleaguered telco. While it looks like the BCE deal may not go through after all (the Canadian Supreme court is deciding today), a failed deal won’t take the shine off of Jonathan’s portrayal in my books. Why? He’s still the same man — even if the deal doesn’t go through.