One of the private equity industry’s pioneers – Kevin Landry – lost his fight with cancer on Thursday, at the age of 69.
“Kevin was known for his larger-than-life persona and was often described as a force of nature,” the firm said in a letter seen by Private Equity International. “Sadly, despite beating the odds for far longer than initially expected, nature has taken its course.
“But while Kevin is no longer with us, his decades of leadership will forever leave their imprint on TA and on all of us fortunate enough to have known him,” the firm went on to say.
Landry, described as a “pioneer” in the industry, joined TA in 1968, only the second hire by firm founder Peter Brooke. He was “instrumental” in helping TA evolve from a regional venture capital firm to a growth-focused private equity shop, with five offices across three continents.
“Perhaps more importantly, Kevin institutionalised TA’s investment origination strategy, grounded in industry expertise and exhaustive research into tens of thousands of businesses,” the letter said.
Part of Landry’s legacy, the firm said, is that he “built an institution that will endure in his absence”, the letter said.
Last year, Landry, who had raised $15 billion from investors during his career, decided to retire as chairman of the firm. The battle with lung cancer and constant chemotherapy took its toll, he told PEI. “It’s not good for my health as I get extremely stimulated and then I can’t sleep,” he said.
Landry was a qualified pilot and flew himself to meetings around the country. He told Private Equity International in a 2004 interview: “I’m not the only private equity guy with a plane. I’m just the only private equity guy who’s a pilot. The others are sitting in the back with a martini. I’m sitting up front with a cup of coffee.”
Landry was a well-known figure in the industry, who one source described as a person well-liked by everyone he met.
“He was a good friend, a good man with strong ethics who built a very good firm,” said Réal Desrochers, senior portfolio manager for private equity at the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. “The firm’s own statement, that he ‘personified TA’s culture of hard work, origination, intellectual honesty, meritocracy and integrity’ could not be more true.”