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Monday, March 12, 2012

Perkins CEO on Politics: I Wouldn't Rule Anything Out

News summary by MFWire's editors

The Chicago Tribune's Becky Yerak has a feature article on Peter Thompson, CEO of value shop Perkins Investment Management. Chicago-based Perkins is an indirect subsidiary of Janus Capital Group.

Thompson, 43, is a nephew of former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley and former White House chief of staff Bill Daley and a grandson of former mayor Richard J. Daley. Which brings up the question: will he one day get into politics?

"I love business," Thompson said. Still, he told the pub: "I wouldn't rule anything out."

Thompson honed his business skills at Ariel Investments, where he spent 12 years, from 1994 to 2006. He was recruited to Ariel by Mellody Hobson, whom he met at St. Ignatius College Prep.

Ariel CEO John Rogers described Thompson as "relentless" when it comes to cultivating new business. Thompson, he said, was "constantly calling people, setting up meetings, going to events, letting the world know that he was a part of the Ariel team."

Thompson departed Ariel to help with his uncle's re-election bid for mayor. Later, he acquired a controlling interest in Chicago Asset Management.

"It was a failure," Thompson told the Tribune. "I thought we could turn it around and save this firm that had a proud history, but it had fallen on hard times." The company ended up closing shop.

In January 2009, Thompson landed at Perkins. His arrival came a month after Janus raised its stake in Perkins to 80 percent from 30 percent.

"Tom and Bob were skeptical that anyone could come in from the outside," said Gary Black, who was Janus' CEO at the time. He was referring to Perkins co-founder Bob Perkins, who remains a portfolio manager, and his brother Tom, also a portfolio manager.

"Peter won them over quickly," Black said.

At Perkins, Thompson is more involved in marketing, distribution and product development. The company has 30 employees: 27 in Chicago and three in San Francisco. 

Edited by: Armie Margaret Lee

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