Jerome Kohlberg, Jr.

Born in 1925, Jerome Kohlberg attended New Rochelle High School in New York, and earned his BA from Swarthmore College. He also has graduate degrees from Harvard Business School and Columbia Law School.

In 1955 Kohlberg began to work for Bear Stearns and finally managed the corporate finance department. Together with Henry Kravis and George R. Roberts Kohlberg began a series of unusual investments which they labeled “bootstrap” investments, later becoming leveraged buyouts. The trio’s purchase of Orkin Extermination Company in 1964 is one of the first LBOs transacted, in 1964.

In 1976 Kohlberg left Bear Sterns and formed a new private equity firm, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company. Together they popularized the use of LBOs as a way to acquire companies, changing the perception of debt as a motivating force for corporate performance.

In 1987 Jerome Kohlberg left KKR due to his discomfort with the predominance of huge buyouts KKR was engaged in. Kohlberg formed the Kohlberg & Company firm, going back to the acquisition of smaller, middle-market companies.

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