ICYMI – In Wall Street Journal interview, Pam Hendrickson discusses her vision as new AIC Board Chair

Today, the American Investment Council announced Pam Hendrickson was elected as the new Chair of the AIC’s Board of Directors. As Vice Chair of The Riverside Company, Hendrickson has spent her career helping small businesses across the country grow and succeed. Hendrickson was recently interviewed by WSJ Pro Private Equity about how she will help private equity tell its powerful story of building better businesses.

Read the full interview below:

Riverside’s Pam Hendrickson to Chair Private-Equity Lobby Group AIC
The Wall Street Journal – PE Pro
By Chris Cumming
January 11, 2022

Riverside Co. executive Pam Hendrickson, the incoming chair of the American Investment Council, said one of her goals will be to impress on lawmakers the private-equity industry’s impact on U.S. small businesses.

The private-equity trade group announced Ms. Hendrickson’s new role Tuesday. She succeeds Steve Klinsky, founder and chief executive of New Mountain Capital. Ms. Hendrickson was previously vice chairman of AIC.

Ms. Hendrickson, who has been with Riverside since 2006, leads the public-policy efforts for the private-equity firm and its portfolio companies. Her title at Riverside is also vice chairman.

AIC President and Chief Executive Drew Maloney called Ms. Hendrickson private-equity’s “leading translator” for lawmakers and regulators, helping them understand the real-world effects of their policy proposals on private-equity-owned companies.

Ms. Hendrickson spoke with WSJ Pro Private Equity about her goals in the new role and private equity’s biggest legislative and regulatory challenges. Here are edited excerpts.

WSJ Pro: How did you first become involved with the AIC and how did you move to the present role?

Ms. Hendrickson: Riverside joined AIC in around 2011. That was largely because policy makers wanted to understand how private equity helps small businesses, and as a firm we’re well positioned to do that. I have become increasingly involved. Last year, private equity invested $1 trillion in U.S. companies, and 80% went to small businesses. One-third went to companies with less than 10 employees each. So much that happens goes to companies you have never heard of.

I have been vice chairman, so the role change is not that surprising in terms of succession. But my goal as chairman is to tell more stories about the important role that private equity plays supporting businesses, especially small ones.

WSJ Pro: What are some of the legislative and regulatory issues that will be a priority to address as chair of the AIC board?

Ms. Hendrickson: First of all, I think we want to grow policy makers’ understanding of the industry, on all issues. For example, let’s take Ebitda, the tax issue that expired at the end of [2021] such that now interest-rate deduction [on portfolio company debt] is based on Ebit rather than Ebitda. That really hurts the manufacturing industry. It is what little manufacturing companies need least right now, at a time when they’re dealing with supply chain and staffing issues.

And obviously we need to keep an eye on regulatory issues. For example, [environmental, social and governance issues are] really, really critical. We’re making a lot of progress on how to measure [ESG], but we’re making sure to collaborate with regulators on what the right measures are.

WSJ Pro: What are your goals for the AIC itself?

Ms. Hendrickson: We always want to expand the organization. The more members we have, the more issues we realize we need to tackle. It is our members that often highlight issues we wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

Riverside has 59 portfolio companies that employ 13,000 people, and we’re just one of 5,000 private-equity firms. It’s a huge industry and we’ve been growing [the AIC], but the more firms that join, the better off we are.