Chapter 7

Aura of Cool

Inside TPG

The Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona, sits snugly up against Camelback Mountain, a manicured golf course sprinkled with rocks and cacti winding through the complex. Every October TPG and its investors descend on these posh environs for two days of meetings.

The centerpiece of the meeting is a state of the union of sorts by Jim Coulter, the firm’s 50-year-old co-founder. He’s little known outside of the industry, younger and less visible than his fellow private-equity chiefs, including his partner David Bonderman, who while fervently press-shy has cultivated an air of diffidence and authority through an occasional industry speech or well-placed memorable remark. Coulter, long content to work behind the ...

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