Carl B. Hess, Pioneer of Private Equity, Dies at 98


Carl B. Hess, the founding chairman and longtime leader of AEA Investors, a pioneer private equity company and a precursor to the leveraged-buyout giants of the 1980s, died on Feb. 15 at his home in Manhattan. He was 98.

His death was confirmed by his wife, Ludmila Schwarzenberg Hess.

AEA was founded in 1968 as American European Associates with $15.4 million in start-up capital from the Rockefellers, Mellons and Harrimans and S. G. Warburg & Company, Siegmund Warburg’s London-based investment bank. Its goal was to acquire struggling companies whose fortunes could be reversed with an infusion of capital and stronger management.

Under Mr. Hess it evolved into “a billion-dollar club for retired Fortune 500 C.E.O.’s,” as Ron Chernow put it in “The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family” (1993)....

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