Lionel Pincus, founder and former chairman of private equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC, died Saturday in New York after a long illness, the firm said on Sunday. He was 78.
Pincus led efforts in the 1970s to change regulations that allowed pension funds to invest in venture capital and private equity funds, bringing new capital into the industry.
In 1980, Warburg Pincus became the first private equity firm to raise a $100 million fund. By 1986, the firm had put together a fund with more than $1 billion. Warburg Pincus has now invested more than $29 billion in over 600 companies in 30 countries.
With Pincus at the helm for more than 30 years, Warburg Pincus invested in many companies, including such firms as Mellon Bank and Mattel.
A graduate of the Columbia University’s School of Business, Pincus started out as a banker at Ladenburg, Thalmann & Co in the 1950s. He rose quickly to become a general partner by the time he was 29. In 1964, he ventured out on his own, founding Lionel I. Pincus & Co, a financial consulting business.
Two years later, Pincus met Eric Warburg, a former partner in German banking firm M.M. Warburg, who had fled Germany in 1938 and set up a merchant bank in New York, called E.M. Warburg.
The meeting led to the merger of the two firms to form E.M. Warburg, Pincus & Co. The firm changed its name to Warburg Pincus LLC in 2001.
Born in Philadelphia on March 2, 1931, Pincus was the son of clothing manufacturer and retail store owner Henry Pincus. He was married to Suzanne Storrs Poulton, who died in January 1995.
For the past decade, Princess Firyal of Jordan, had been Pincus’s companion, according to The New York Times.
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