Jonathan M. Nelson

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Jonathan M. Nelson
Born 1956 (age 57–58)
Nationality United States

Brown University

Harvard Business School
Occupation Founder of Providence Equity Partners
Net worth Increase $1.76 billion (November 2014)[1]

Jonathan Nelson (born 1956) is an American businessman and investor. He is the founder of Providence Equity Partners, a global private equity firm based in Providence, Rhode Island, which manages funds with US$40 billion in commitments.[2][3]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Nelson grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. He graduated from Brown University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. After graduation he managed the China division of Wellman, Inc.[4] Upon returning to the United States, he earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School in 1983.

Career History[edit]

In 1983, Nelson joined Narragansett Capital, a private equity firm, where he was a managing director. At Narragansett, he specialized in the broadcasting, cable television and publishing sectors.[5]

In 1989, he founded Providence Equity Partners, a pioneering sector-focused private equity firm. Providence Equity Partners is the world's leading private equity investment firm focused on media, communications, education, and information investments.[6] Nelson was dubbed the “stealth mogul” by The New York Times for keeping a low profile despite his firm’s substantial media holdings.[7]

In 2008, Nelson and other Providence principals launched Providence’s credit investment arm with Thomas Gahan of Deutsche Bank.[8] The unit is called Benefit Street Partners, which has $9 billion under management.[9]

Nelson serves on the boards of the Chernin Group, MLS Media, Television Broadcasts Ltd and Univision Communications. Nelson has also served as a director of Eircom Plc, Hulu, Language Line, MetroNet (now AT&T Canada), VoiceStream Wireless (now Deutsche Telecom), Warner Music Group, (now Alltel Wireless) and Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network.[10][11]

Philanthropy and Other Activities[edit]

Nelson currently serves as a Fellow of Brown University, and has previously been a trustee.[12] He has donated generously to Brown University, contributing to the construction of the Nelson Fitness Center[13] and to establish two professorships at the university.[14] The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art named Mr. Nelson the winner of the 2013 Arthur Ross Award for Excellence In The Classical Tradition (Patronage) for his guidance of the design and construction of the Nelson Fitness Center.[15] In August 2014, Harvard Business School gave him an Alumni Achievement Award, the highest honor bestowed by the School on its graduates.[16]

Nelson has committed to the Giving Pledge, a campaign led by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to encourage the wealthiest people in the United States to make a commitment to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.[17] Nelson also serves on the board of the Newport Festivals Foundation.

He is also an avid sailor and big mountain skier.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Forbes: The World's Billionaires - Jonathan Nelson November 2014
  2. ^ Alistair Smith (October 21, 2013). "Ambassador Theatre Group confirms sale to Providence Equity". The Stage. 
  3. ^ Devin Banerjee and Meghan Morris (July 9, 2014). "Providence’s China Head Said to Leave in Latest Asia Exit". Bloomberg News. 
  4. ^ Mehta, Stephanie. "Inside a record-breaking $51 billion buyout". CNN Money. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Speaker Profile: Jonathan Nelson". Miliken Institute. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Members - PEGCC". Private Equity Growth Capital Council. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  7. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross. "They're Just a Bunch of Regular Media Moguls". New York Times. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  8. ^ Ken MacFadyen (June 21, 2010). "Providence Expands Capital Markets Arm". Leveraged Finance News. 
  9. ^ Julie Segal (November 12, 2014). "Tommy Gahan Wants to Capitalize on Volatility". Institutional Investor (magazine). 
  10. ^ "Tyco%20International%20Ltd". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  11. ^ "Milken Institute Asia Summit - 2014 - Speakers". Milken Institute. September 19, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Brown Corporation elects one fellow, seven trustees". Brown University. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  13. ^ "Providence Equity’s Jonathan Nelson Named to Fortune 400". GoLocalProv. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  14. ^ Kaplan, Jennifer. "New U. fund supports interdisciplinary efforts". Brown Daily Herald. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "The Classicist". 
  16. ^ "2014 Alumni Achievement Awards". Harvard University. August 25, 2014. 
  17. ^ Sweet, Ken. "Two Private Equity Billionaires Sign Buffett and Gates’ Giving Pledge". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  18. ^ "Profile: Jonathan Nelson". Forbes. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 

External links[edit]