Lee Equity hires GE veteran

Robert Wright, GE’s vice chairman and former head of NBC Universal, is the second titan of industry Thomas H. Lee has hired to advise his private equity firm.

Veteran television executive Robert Wright has signed on to become a senior advisor to Lee Equity Partners, Thomas H. Lee’s two-year old New York private equity firm.

Wright is currently the vice chairman and director of the General Electric Company, and until last year, had been chairman of its media group, NBC Universal, since 2001. He was named president and CEO of NBC in 1986, prior to which he’d led General Electric Financial Services.

“Bob is a visionary in both the financial services and media and broadcasting sectors and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Lee Equity Partners,” Lee said in a statement.

Robert Wright

Wright added: “I am grateful for the opportunities that General Electric Company has afforded me and am proud of my years of service and leadership there. I look forward to achieving equally great things with Tom Lee and his talented group of partners at Lee Equity.”

Retail guru Allen Questrom, well known for his turnaround of clothing chain JC Penney after a brief stint leading Barneys New York, is the firm’s other senior advisor.

Among the private equity firm’s 16 professionals are Mark Gormley, co-founder of hedge fund Capital Z Partners; ex-Carlyle Group executive Luke Long; former Bain Capital executives Yoo Jin Kim and Benjamin Hochberg; Bain & Co. alumnus Michael Anderson; and David Morrison, the former chief executive of Mercer Management Consulting.

Lee Equity Partners makes growth investments of between $100 million and $500 million, mostly in the US. Last year it announced two deals: it purchased teen fashion retailer Deb Shops for $395 million, and took part in club deal that invested $350 million in Universal American Financial, a provider of managed care and health insurance.

The firm has yet to announce a fund close. When it was founded the firm said it had “interim financing” that enabled it to begin investing at once.