Bain clarifies its relation to Romney via email

24 January 2012 4 min. read
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Bain & Company has sent an e-mail to students from an American university to explain to them that Bain & Company is a separate institution of Bain Capital. The email from the global strategy consulting firm suggests that the presidential campaign of its alum Mitt Romney is creating headaches for the firm, particularly as it attempts to differentiate itself from Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney helped to found.

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Both firms have been under a massive interest in the U.S. over the past month as Mitt Romney, one of the favorites of the Republican Party, has worked for both firms. In particular Bain Capital has been receiving bad publicity in recent weeks. On a daily basis journalists refer to his activities for both firms yet outsiders often consider both firms to be the same entity. The e-mail, sent by Graham Rose (partner in its Boston office) to recent hires from the Wharton School of Business, explains that it's the other Bain (Bain Capital) that Mitt Romney co-founded and where he made his millions. In other words, let's all be clear that Bain & Company is not the place that took over companies where workers lost their jobs. obtained a copy of the email. See below for the full email.

Dear Wharton Bainies,

As you are probably aware, one of our alums, Mitt Romney, is running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States. We are very proud to see our alumni fulfill their aspirations and contribute to global business and government affairs.

With Mitt's continued success in the US primaries, there has been much confusion in the media between Bain & Company and Bain Capital, both shortened to just "Bain" in headlines, articles and social media, even though the two companies are completely separate entities with no sharing of governance or ownership. Here are some quick facts of our collective history:

  • Mitt worked at Bain & Company from 1977 to 1985, leaving the firm in 1985 as a vice president to help found Bain Capital.
  • He rejoined Bain & Company in the early 1990's to play a key role in our turnaround, leading the successful effort to restructure our debt and reorganize Bain into a full partnership that has fueled 20 years of phenomenal growth.
  • Mitt returned to Bain Capital in 1992 and worked there until 1999 when he went to work with the Salt Lake City Olympics.
  • While we are proud of Mitt, Bain & Company's policy and US campaign finance law prohibits us as a firm from providing his campaign with either funding or in kind service.

Frequently asked Q&A on Mitt Romney and Bain:

Q. What can I do to help Bain & Company on campus given the attention the firm is receiving around the Mitt Romney campaign?

A. Due to our shared name 'Bain' and despite our constant efforts to set the record straight on the differences between the two firms, there is understandable confusion between "Bain & Company" and "Bain Capital." Both tend to be shortened simply to "Bain" in conversation and in the media. It is helpful to explain that Bain & Company is the leading management consulting firm and Bain Capital is a private equity firm. They are different businesses, with no shared governance or ownership.

Q. What is our current connection to Mitt Romney?

A. Mitt Romney has no current relationship to Bain & Company, aside from being among its most prominent alumni. He worked at Bain & Company from 1977 to 1985 and again from 1990 to 1992, but has not worked for Bain & Co. since then.

Q. Are we contributing to his campaign?

A. Bain & Company, as a firm, has a policy that we do not contribute to any political candidates or causes. Of course some employees are personally supporting Mitt, however this is a personal matter and completely voluntary.

Q. Is the confusion between Bain & Company and Bain Capital causing any issues?

A. We have to explain more frequently the distinction between the firms. Our clients know who we are and what we do. They know that we develop practical insights for them to act on, and share a passion for their results. Our employees know and embody our values and commitment. They've voted us Consulting magazine's Best Firm to Work For in the management consulting industry nine years in a row. Glassdoor just ranked us Best firm to work for in any industry, and Working Mother magazine named us to the list of 100 best companies for working mothers. Further, we will continue to monitor our brand and correct any inaccuracies.

Q. What is your opinion on whether Mitt Romney would do a good job as President of the U.S.?

A. Bain & Company employees and alumni can answer - and debate - that question individually as citizens and voters. Bain & Company as a firm respects the opinions of all its employees. The firm encourages the free exchange of ideas by definition. It's one of our strengths as a firm.

As always, we appreciate the role you play on campus as ambassadors of Bain and wanted to reach out to ensure you had talking points in case your classmates were asking questions.