“If you don’t have integrity, you have nothing. You can’t buy it. You can have all the money in the world, but if you are not a moral and ethical person, you really have nothing.”
Henry Kravis is Co-Chairman, Co-CEO, and Co-Founder of the private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR). The company was founded in 1976, and through the years it became a foremost pioneer in the practice of leveraged buyouts. Today, the New York-based firm is one of the top private equity companies in the country, with over $62 billion in assets.
A self-made billionaire, Henry Kravis has consistently ranked on the Forbes 400 list. He received his Bachelor of Arts & Science from Claremont McKenna College (CMC) and his Master of Business Administration from Columbia University. He initially worked for Bear Stearns, eventually leaving to co-found KKR.
As a successful private equity company, KKR has invested in dozens of companies over the years, including Safeway, Duracell, Toys “R” Us, RJR Nabisco, and Regal Entertainment. KKR’s portfolio today includes more than ninety companies.
Together, Henry Kravis and his wife Marie-Josee are prominent within the philanthropy, education, and art communities. Marie-Josee Kravis is the president of the Museum of Modern Art board of directors, and over the years the two have attended and chaired many philanthropic events in New York City.
Henry Kravis has donated often to educational causes, including donating $100 million to Columbia University for their new business school. He and Marie-Josee are also joint administrators for the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership from Claremont McKenna College, which identifies extraordinary leaders in the nonprofit sector.
KKR is a unique company with a diverse set of assets, including a co-CEO who is always looking to learn. “If there’s anything that I want to know more about, I have the opportunity. It’s right in our portfolio… You can’t get bored doing that,” he said.
If there’s any one thing that Henry Kravis seems to value above others, it is a good education. Because, as he once told students during a CMC Q&A forum, it’s the one thing that can never be taken from you—and learning’s the one thing that we never stop doing.