Russell L. Carson ’67
Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe
When Russell Carson graduated from Columbia Business School, he had never heard the term private equity. Yet it was the company he cofounded in 1979, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, that defined the field, becoming one of the largest and most successful private equity firms in the world.
Over the past 30 years, the firm has raised 15 institutionally-funded limited partnerships with total capital of over $20 billion and has invested in more than 250 companies. Unlike many buyout firms, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe — which specializes in the information services and healthcare industries — emphasizes the growth of acquired businesses and ultimately seeks its financial returns through access to the public stock market. (Paul Queally ’90 is also a senior member of the firm.)
A noted philanthropist, Carson is a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, chairman of Rockefeller University and the Endowment for Inner-City Education, and cochairman of the New York City Investment Fund. In 2007, Carson and his family funded a two-year partnership between the School and the nationally acclaimed social-services and education nonprofit Harlem Children’s Zone.
A longtime supporter of the Social Enterprise Program, Carson also serves as chairman emeritus of the School’s Board of Overseers. He was presented with the Columbia Business School Distinguished Leadership in Business Award in 2008 by Henry Kravis ’69 at the School’s 32nd Annual Dinner.
“Columbia introduced me to the world of business,” Carson says. “The School was instrumental to my development as both a businessman and a human being.”