By Lauren Cochran, Managing Director
News of Bill McGlashan’s downfall has sparked all kinds of commentary – and a fair amount of schadenfreude. After the founder and CEO of TPG’s multi-billion dollar Rise Fund was ensnared in the “Varsity Blues” college admissions scandal, charged in a fraudulent scheme to get his son into an elite university, he was swiftly put on indefinite leave from TPG, then resigned soon thereafter. In response, impact investing advocates have fretted about the fallout for the sector’s image, while skeptics (most notably social impact gadfly Anand Giridharadas) gleefully spiked the football.
I’ll be honest, I understand the impulse. I did not like the way TPG launched the Rise impact fund in 2016, led by McGlashan, U2’s Bono, Jeff Skoll and several other high-profile board members/investors. After I’d spent seven years in impact investing, Bono’s declaration that impact investing had become “a lot of bad deals done by good people” inspired deep personal resentment. I wasn’t the only one. Bono was trotted out to draw potential impact-focused limited partners (LPs) into the fund – serious investors who were mystified by the presence of a fading rock star with little knowledge of investing, impact or otherwise.