Lionel Pincus

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Lionel Pincus
Lionel pincus photo.jpg
Historical photo of Lionel Pincus
Lionel I. Pincus

(1931-03-02)March 2, 1931
DiedOctober 10, 2009(2009-10-10) (aged 78)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
Columbia Business School (MBA)
Occupation(s)Businessman, banker, philanthropist
Known forFounder of Warburg Pincus
(m. 1967; died 1995)
Children2 sons, including Matt Pincus

Lionel I. Pincus (March 2, 1931 — October 10, 2009)[1][2] was an American businessman and philanthropist. He was the founder of the private equity firm Warburg Pincus, running it from 1966 to 2002,[3][4][5] and later became the chairman emeritus of the company.[1]

Early life[edit]

Pincus was born to a Jewish family[6] in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry (d. 1949)[7] and Theresa Celia (née Levit, d. 1982)[8] Pincus.[1] His grandparents were Jewish[6] immigrants from Russia and Poland.[9] After being educated at The Hill School,[10] he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in English in 1953.[1][11] His family had clothes retailing and real estate businesses; rather than join those businesses, he pursued an MBA at Columbia Business School, graduating in 1956.[1][12]


Pincus joined Ladenburg Thalmann, an investment banking firm, in 1955, and became a partner in the firm at age 29.[9] He formed Lionel I. Pincus & Co., Inc., a financial consultancy, in 1964.[1][12][13] The following year, he joined the board of directors of E.M. Warburg & Co., founded in 1939 by Eric Warburg, and in 1966, the two firms merged.[9][13] The company was renamed to E.M. Warburg Pincus in 1970,[9] and to Warburg Pincus LLC in 2001.[14]

Pincus is a "pioneer of the venture capital megafund",[12] raising billions of dollars to invest in companies across industries. The money he raised came from, among other sources, blue chip pension funds, such as AT&T, IBM, GE, Pacific Telesis, and GM, state pension funds, and college endowments.[9][12][15]

An early venture capital fund, EMW Associates, was organized by Pincus in 1970, with $20 million in capital, about half of which came from officers of the company.[16] This was followed by successively larger funds; a $2 billion fund organized by Warburg Pincus in 1989 was described as "five times larger than any other venture partnership".[17] A later fund, closed in 2000, raised $2.5 billion, and was then described as the "biggest so far in the private-equity industry".[18] The tenth and final fund raised while Pincus headed the company raised over $5.3 billion, closing in 2002.[3][19][20]

Early investments included 20th Century Fox, Humana, and Warner, a company later acquired by Waste Management, Inc.[18] In 1984, Warburg Pincus invested in Mattel, and Pincus joined its board of directors.[21] By 2002, when Pincus ended his tenure as the hands-on leader of the company, it had overseen investments of more than $13 billion in over 450 companies in 29 countries.[19][20]

In 1999, Warburg Pincus sold its asset management division to Credit Suisse for $650 million, which also acquired an interest in the private equity division of Warburg Pincus.[22]


The Map Division

Pincus supported several philanthropic activities, including a $10 million donation to Columbia University, New York in 1995. He was a trustee of the university at the time.[23] In 2005, the New York Public Library renovated its main map room, principally financed and endowed by Pincus and his companion Princess Firyal of Jordan. The renovation cost $5 million and was also financially supported by the City of New York and the U.S. Government. The division was renamed The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division.[24] He was recognized in 2002 for having donated more than $5 million to the Library.[25]


Pincus married the former Suzanne Storrs, a former Miss Utah winner and actress, in 1967.[9][26][27] They had two sons, Henry A. Pincus (married to Ana Terzani) and Matthew S. Pincus (married to Sarah Min). She died in 1995 at the age of 60, after a long illness.[28][29]

Following cancer surgery in 2006, Pincus was declared mentally and physically incompetent, and his sons became his guardians. In 2008, his 14-room, 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) apartment at The Pierre hotel was offered for sale, over the objections of Princess Firyal, his long-time companion. The asking price at the time was $50 million.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Who's Who In America - 2009 (63 ed.). Marquis Who's Who. 2009. ISBN 9780837902753.
  2. ^ Founder of Warburg Pincus dies, The Associated Press, 10 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b Carey, David; Tenorio, Vyvyan (2002-05-10). "Passing the contrarian torch". Daily Deal.
  4. ^ Politi, James (2007-04-26). "Warburg poised to raise $15bn". Financial Times. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  5. ^ Berman, Phyllis (2006-05-08). "We'll Do It Our Way". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  6. ^ a b Chernow, Ron (November 15, 2016). The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family. Vintage. p. 662. ISBN 9780525431831.
  7. ^ "Henry Pincus". The New York Times. 1949-11-24.
  8. ^ "Obituary #1". The New York Times. 1982-11-12.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Rehfeld, Barry (1994-10-23). "Even in Hard Times, He's Still the Top Player in Town". The New York Times. p. F8.
  10. ^ "Pincus Changed Finance with a Venture Capital Vision". Investor's Business Daily. 5 February 2013.
  11. ^ "E.M. Warburg & Co. Chooses New President and Chief Officer". The New York Times. 1966-01-19. p. 58.
  12. ^ a b c d Gupta, Udayan (1987-03-09). "Megafund Chief Pincus Speaks Softly, Carries a $1.17 Billion Venture Stake". The Wall Street Journal. p. 15.
  13. ^ a b "Pincus Joins Warburg Board". The New York Times. 1965-11-09. p. 61.
  14. ^ Bansal, Paritosh (2009-10-11). "Warburg Pincus founder Lionel Pincus dies". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
  15. ^ Anders, George (1990-07-19). "Is Warburg Pincus's Magic Waning?". The Wall Street Journal. p. C1.
  16. ^ "Warburg Group Forms A Venture Capital Firm". The New York Times. 1970-02-03. p. 65.
  17. ^ Gupta, Udayan (1989-09-07). "Venture-Capital Funds Grow Larger and Larger". The Wall Street Journal. p. B2.
  18. ^ a b Chee, Jann Perng (2000-12-17). "Pioneer in private-equity funds warns of impending shake-up". The Straits Times.
  19. ^ a b Bushrod, Lisa (2002-05-01). "Warburg Pincus is above target". European Venture Capital Journal.
  20. ^ a b Lewis, Diane E. (2002-04-30). "Warburg Pincus Closes on $5.3 Billion Global Equity Fund". Boston Globe.
  21. ^ Williams, John D. (1987-07-13). "Mattel Investor Group Gets 45% Stake In Exchange for Rescue Financing Pact". The Wall Street Journal. p. 29.
  22. ^ Oppel, Richard A. Jr. (1999-02-16). "Credit Suisse to Acquire a Warburg, Pincus Unit for $650 Million". The New York Times. p. C1. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
  23. ^ Berger, Joseph (1995-12-01). "Billionaire's Gift Helps Columbia to Exceed Its Fund-Raising Goal". The New York Times. p. B1. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
  24. ^ Collins, Glenn (2005-12-05). "Restoring Vivid Palette of Library's Map Chamber". The New York Times. p. B3.
  25. ^ "The New York Public Library Annual Report 2002" (PDF). New York Public Library. 2002-07-01. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 8, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
  26. ^ Hill, Ira L. (1967-12-18). "Miss Storrs Bride Of Lionel I. Pincus". The New York Times. p. 61.
  27. ^ Klemesrud, Judy (1984-08-06). "Volunteer's Goal: 'Buy Bronx'". The New York Times. p. A18. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  28. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (1995-01-27). "Suzanne Pincus, 60, Volunteer in the Arts And Social Services". The New York Times. p. A20. Retrieved 2009-07-12.
  29. ^ "Sarah Min and Matthew Pincus". The New York Times. September 25, 2005.
  30. ^ Barbanel, Josh (2008-09-19). "A Royal Ruckus". The New York Times. p. RE2. Retrieved 2009-07-15.

Further reading[edit]