Providence Equity Partners
Julie Richardson, BBA ’85, is at the pinnacle of her profession. After successful stints in investment banking at Merrill and JP Morgan Chase, Richardson was offered, in 2003, a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to open the New York office of Providence Equity Partners. The opportunity has paid off for Richardson, now the managing director. In the last six months, her firm has participated in two of the three largest leveraged buyout deals (other than RJR Nabisco) on record: Sunguard at $11 billion and TeleDenmark at $14 billion. Time magazine recently called Richardson a “private equity superstar”—and it’s easy to see why.
What’s behind Richardson’s stellar success? She credits luck, but her almost unprecedented career rise suggests there is more than good fortune at work. While it’s true that Richardson’s area of expertise—telecommunications, media and technology—have been at the red-hot center of merger-and-acquisition action, she admits she is a focused, high-energy person who loves what she does—and who has benefited from her years at UW-Madison: “I think the finance classes at school gave me great skills to pursue a career. If anything, I felt I had a better background than a lot of my peers in terms of some of the nuts and bolts subjects, like finance and accounting.”
Those nuts and bolts have helped Richardson build an exceptional portfolio, and from her many positions of leadership she has been able to provide insight as chair of the School of Business’s Dean’s Advisory Board from 2002 until 2006. To the up-and-coming UW graduates, she offers advice that no doubt mirrors her own active role in constructing her career: “People who grow up in the Northeast know a lot about Wall Street. As a Wisconsin grad, it takes a more pro-active approach to really understand what’s out there. It requires people to be really tenacious, to use whatever contacts they have to make sure their resume gets to the right places.”