Newcomb leaves Leeds Weld

The former chairman and CEO of publishing house Simon & Schuster has left the New York private equity firm for health reasons.

Jonathan Newcomb, a principal at the New York-based private equity firm Leeds Weld, whose roster includes former Massachusetts governor William Weld as a principal and past New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani as an advisor, has left the firm.

Leeds Weld chief financial officer Peter Lyons confirmed that Newcomb, who is in his late fifties, left the firm for health reasons.

The private equity shop, which focuses on the education and training sectors, recently hired two new partners:  Omar Waddles, former president and chief operating officer of ITT Educational Services and Kevin McEnery, former executive vice president and chief financial officer of Scholastic Corporation. The departure of Newcomb brings the total number of principals at the firm to seven.

Newcomb joined Leeds Weld in 2002 after eight years as chairman and chief executive officer of Simon & Schuster, a leading publishing house. Upon Newcomb’s appointment to the firm, co-founder and ex-Lazard banker Jeffrey Leeds commented, “John Newcomb has done 40 acquisitions as CEO of Simon & Schuster, so he has a skill set which is very much required in our business.  He also has very deep operational experience, which is something we really wanted more of here.”

Prior to Simon and Schuster, Mr. Newcomb was president of McGraw Hill’s Financial and Economic Information Corporation. He began his career with the Dun & Bradstreet Corporation after serving as a lieutenant in the US Army in Vietnam. Mr. Newcomb is a director of United Business Media and the BNA Corporation as well a board member of New School University, the Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation and the Dartmouth College board of trustees.

Leeds Weld, founded in 1993, is a private equity firm focused on the education and training sectors. In 2002, the firm launched fundraising for its fourth fund, Leeds Weld Equity Partners IV, with a $500 million target.