Madison Dearborn chief steps down ahead of $10bn fundraising(2)

The firm’s co-presidents, Sam Mencoff and Paul Finnegan, have reportedly taken the reins from fellow co-founder John Canning in a planned succession.

John Canning, chief executive and co-founder of Madison Dearborn Partners, has reportedly relinquished his role at the Chicago firm as it prepares to raise $10 billion (€6.8 billion) for its sixth buyout fund.

[This] signals to the outside world that we have a management transition plan, and not just in the event that someone gets hit by a bus.

John Canning

The Chicago Tribune first reported Monday that Canning would remain chairman of the firm, but his CEO role has been taken up by current co-presidents and fellow founders Sam Mencoff and Paul Finnegan, both of whom are in their early 50s.

Finnegan and Mencoff will share duties and continue to run the firm’s day-to-day operations as they have as co-presidents for the past four years, Canning told Chicago Business. “There is very little change from what we were doing yesterday,” he said.

The 63-year old Canning, who is also chairman of Chicago’s Federal Reserve Bank and reportedly leading a bid to buy the Chicago Cubs baseball team from the Sam Zell-owned media group Tribune Co, said he’d always planned on stepping down as chief executive when Madison Dearborn launched its sixth fund.

He told Chicago Business the move “signals to the outside world that we have a management transition plan, and not just in the event that someone gets hit by a bus”.

Canning also said that he, Finnegan and Mencoff would invest equal amounts in Madison Dearborn Capital Partners VI, contributing the largest portion to the $260 million that will be committed to the fund from the firm’s employees.

Madison Dearborn did not immediately return a request for comment.

The 15-year old private equity firm recently took part in the largest buyout to date, the $49 billion take private of telecom giant Bell Canada Enterprises. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Providence Equity Partners were also among those in the buying consortium.