Monday, June 19, 2023

UVA Board of Visitor Candidate's Rich History

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin dropped his ESG evangelism once sworn into office.  As Carlyle Group co-CEO Youngkin displayed a long, vocal record of supporting environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts.  He called it good business.  

The governor has a real opportunity to impact governance at the University of Virginia.  The Daily Progress reported:

Gov. Glenn Youngkin is close to appointing four new members to the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors, according to sources close to the governor. And Joel Gardner, a vocal critic of UVa — especially its diversity initiatives — is slated to be one of those appointees to the body that governs the school, those close to the decision-making process told The Daily Progress.

Joel Gardner is senior managing director at Burnham Securities.  The Burnham comes from Drexel Burnham Lambert.  CNBC noted in 2015:

Drexel Burnham Lambert collapsed in scandal 25 years ago, but alumni of the once-powerful investment bank are now in some of Wall Street’s most powerful posts. The firm famous for high-yield or “junk” bonds filed for bankruptcy on Feb. 13, 1990 after several years of legal troubles. Thousands were out of work the next day, which was dubbed the “Valentine’s Day Massacre.” Drexel’s bond department head Michael Milken would pay huge fines and serve nearly two years in prison for securities fraud.

Drexel alum went on to fame and fortune at storied private equity underwriters (PEU), Apollo, Blackstone, Cerberus, Ares and Moelis.  Michael Milken spent a fraction of his sentence in jail and he kept the vast majority of his ill gotten gains.  Milken's image rehab tour climaxed with an expungement of his felony criminal record by President Donald Trump.

Back to Governor Youngkin and Joel Gardner, his likely UVA Board of Visitors appointment.  

He is now a senior managing director at investment firm Burnham Securities.

FINRA's BrokerCheck report on Burnham Securities indicates the firm ceased to operate as a broker in May 2016.  It also shows six regulatory events where Burnham paid fines for SEC violations.

The Texas Comptroller Taxable Entity Search showed two Burnham Securities entities, both ceased paying franchise taxes.

Gardner should appreciate this history given his undergraduate major (History 1970).  His 4th year was the first year 450 undergraduate women were admitted.   

His law degree places him in a unique position to understand the many ways private equity underwriters frame legislation and state budgets to their advantage.  

Governor Youngkin could appoint a young visionary Red Team leader to UVA's Board of Regents.  Maybe a libertarian minded doctor who wants to prevent disease instead of enrich healthcare corporations, many of which are PEU owned.  

That said, university board slots are ways to payback donors and benefactors.  Most of Youngkin's PEU kind are white guys who got out of college before cell phones were invented.  I should know because I am one.  This UVA graduate wants the Board of Visitors to be a true mix of society, not a bunch of people with PEU founder/managing director titles.

Also, if the guy in his mid 70's is retired and his firm no longer operates, just say so.   Governor Youngkin has a history problem, his record at Carlyle.  He wants to change it, just like his new Board of Visitor appointees.  Make UVA white and male again.

Update:  Bloomberg interviewed Gov. Youngkin at the International Paris Air Show.