Romney seeks political capital from time at Bain

The latest Mitt Romney campaign ad makes the first mention of his time at Bain Capital and an incident in 1996 when he dispatched employees to search for the missing daughter of a partner.

Mitt Romney hopes to boost his US Presidential campaign by recounting a missing person incident that occurred while he led Bain Capital.

Mitt Romney

The Republican Presidential candidate once shut down the private equity firm for 24 hours and sent all 56 of its employees to New York City to search for the missing 14-year old daughter of partner Robert Gay. Gay has since left Bain, but now appears in a television ad recounting the 1996 incident to enhance his longtime business partner’s campaign.

Gay’s daughter disappeared after a Saturday night dance party in Manhattan. The following Wednesday, Gay told the other partners that the girl was missing. By Thursday morning Romney had sent all 56 Bain employees to the city to launch a search, and recruited 250 employees for the effort from other major Wall Street firms including Goldman Sachs, Price Waterhouse, Bankers Trust and Morgan Stanley.

Bain printed 300,000 fliers with the girl’s picture and distributed them throughout the city, and had drugstore chain Duane Reade, then a Bain portfolio company, insert fliers into shopping bags. The Bain team also organized news reports and hired private investigators. By late Thursday night the girl was found in a New Jersey home.

Romney founded Bain Capital, the private equity spinout of consulting firm Bain & Company, in 1984. He left the firm in 1998 to head the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organising Committee. In his current presidential campaign, supporters have pointed to his successes at Bain as examples of his organisational prowess and efficiency.

Bain Capital currently manages $50 billion (€35 billion) in assets, and has operations in the US, Europe and Asia. The firm now employs around 250 people.