How does one build out the merchant-banking arm of a firm such as Goldman Sachs? If you are Henry Cornell, this week’s guest on Masters in Business, you start in Asia. In the late 1980s, Japan was the hottest country in the world and Cornell went there to expand the firm’s local footprint. He hired hundreds of employees and helped establish Goldman’s reputation in the market as a savvy private-equity investor. From there, he moved to Hong Kong in the early 1990s, just as China was beginning to become a more market-based economy.

Returning to the U.S., he rose to become Goldman’s vice chairman before starting Cornell Capital in 2013. The firm now manages $3 billion in long-term investments in closely held companies.

Cornell co-invests with Goldman Sachs, Alibaba and a number of well-known private-equity funds. Because he knows literally hundreds of chief executive officers and their networks, the deal flow for private investments is a substantial advantage for the firm. Cornell explains how he developed an expertise in insurance, packaging and consumer-product companies, including KDC and Purell.

Source: Bloomberg

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