What will the future of private equity look like? As another month begins with vast swathes of the globe still under varying degrees of lockdown, that question has no easy answer.

Who will be shaping it? Perhaps a little easier to answer: today we bring you our latest Future Leaders of Private Equity list showcasing 40 individuals under 40 who we predict will leave a lasting mark on the industry in the next decade.

Just how the industry emerges from the crisis brought about by the coronavirus pandemic remains unclear: there are opportunities to be sure, but also plenty of room for missteps. As economies scramble to get back on surer footing, leadership, innovation, interpersonal skills and technical expertise will be more important than ever.

PEI’s Future 40 list, now in its second year, recognises the investors, dealmakers, fundraisers, operators and lawyers who demonstrate those qualities and who will be at the forefront of the efforts to recover from what is fast becoming a devastating downturn.

These are the rising stars of an industry that has more than its fair share of top talent. We received more than 200 formal nominations and dozens more recommendations from senior industry sources – thank you to everyone who took the time to do so. PEI’s senior editorial team then had the tough job of selecting just 40 individuals from the many impressive submissions.

This year’s list includes 11 dealmakers, 10 investors, nine fundraisers, seven lawyers and three operators. They hail from all over the globe, and 35 percent are women. Our youngest entrant is already making a mark on the industry at just 27 years old.

As part of our Future of Private Equity special supplement, we asked a panel of this year’s Future 40 how they would like to see private equity evolve over the next 10 years. Interestingly, most of the answers focused on the industry serving as a positive force, a vital part of the solution to the current crisis, as well as achieving greater diversity.

With the public narrative surrounding the industry having been decidedly on the negative side in recent times, it’s more than encouraging to hear the industry’s future leaders speak of the need for the asset class to be a force for good. As we wrote a few weeks back, with private equity-owned businesses now a significant and visible part of the global economy, the industry has a real opportunity to make a bold statement about its role in softening the crisis, with all that entails. When these leaders take the helm, there’s a good chance that statement will be made.

Write to the author: isobel.m@peimedia.com