Long term horizons

We are a trusted partner for building outstanding businesses over the long term
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Who You Are

You are the builder of a great company

  • Your success is based on innovation and a relentless focus on execution.
  • Your people – their communities, and the environment – matter to you.
  • Your focus is on the long term and you seek a partner for the future.

We founded Cranemere to be your partner

Who We Are

A trusted partner

Cranemere is a distinct alternative

For those considering private equity, going public, or being owned by a large corporation.

Cranemere is a holding company for outstanding businesses in the United States and Europe.

We are a long-term, values-aligned partner with permanent capital, business-building expertise, and a global network.

Our lasting partnership enables innovative founders, entrepreneurs, and leaders to focus on the best long-term strategy and build exceptional companies.

A distinct alternative

We look beyond the horizon

Too often outstanding companies are trapped in short-term cycles of being burdened by debt and repeatedly sold. Some are weighed down by quarterly reporting and myopic scrutiny. Others are subsumed and neglected by corporate giants.

We create more value for all stakeholders: we are actively committed to the long-term success of our businesses, the wellbeing of people, the benefit of communities, and the safeguarding of the environment;

We avoid the pitfalls of short-termism: the cost, inefficiency and distraction of being sold, the burden of excessive leverage, and the resulting missed opportunities to grow the business;

We harness the power of compounding in a highly efficient model to generate greater returns for shareholders.

Principles

Values drive value

Long-term partnership

We create lasting partnerships based on respect and fairness, where decisions are
made together with a long-term mindset for value creation

  • Principal preservation

    We focus on careful management of risk with a conservative approach to leverage that enables ongoing strategic commitments to growth

  • Innovation is core to enduring success

    We believe that continuous entrepreneurial enterprise and creativity are essential components of enduring success

  • Open engagement

    We engage in open and proactive dialogue with all our stakeholders; we hold ourselves and others to the highest standards of transparency and integrity

Business should be a force for good

We look to mobilize the transformative power of business to have a positive impact
on our stakeholders and the environment – unlocking further business value

Our People

A team of partners

Vincent Mai is Cranemere’s Founder and Chairman.

Prior to Cranemere, Vincent was CEO and / or Chairman of AEA Investors, a private equity firm founded to make investments on behalf of S.G. Warburg & Co., as well as the Rockefeller, Mellon, and Harriman families. During Vincent’s 20+ year tenure, AEA was ranked in the top 10 of 5,600 firms worldwide for the most consistent high performance by research firm Preqin1. At AEA Vincent served on numerous boards in a period where more than 80% of the value creation was driven by revenue growth and margin improvement. Vincent also served as Chairman of the AEA Mezzanine and Small Business funds.

Vincent was the former chairman of the board of Sesame Workshop, producers of Sesame Street, has been a director of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has served on the boards of the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Juilliard School, among others.

1 Based on the period of Vincent’s tenure, 1989 – 2011

Jeffrey Zients is the President of Cranemere.

Prior to Cranemere, Jeff served as the Director of President Obama’s National Economic Council. Jeff previously served as the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and also was responsible for the technology turnaround of healthcare.gov.

Before serving in Government, Jeff served as the Chairman, CEO, and COO of the Advisory Board Company and Chairman of the Corporate Executive Board. During his tenure, these companies created more than $2 billion in equity value for shareholders.

Jeff also founded Portfolio Logic, an investment firm focused on healthcare and business services, serving on several portfolio company boards. With his wife Mary, he was part of the founding group of the Urban Alliance Foundation which provides economically disadvantaged youth with job training.

Our Team

Vincent and Jeff are joined by a team of dedicated professionals with business building expertise across the United States and Europe who have collectively created several billion dollars of equity value, made more than 50 acquisitions, and worked together for many years.

 

Our Shareholders

Our shareholders are major families and institutions from the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, Latin America, and the Middle East.

Many of our shareholders have built businesses over multiple generations. They share our vision of long-term value creation and play an active role by lending their expertise.

Our shareholders have joined us because we manage risk carefully with conservative leverage; our model is a highly cost-efficient model for compounding free cash flow; we have an engaged, shareholder-led governance structure; aligned management incentives; and a long-term orientation that builds greater value in our companies.

Our Story

Strong foundations

A conversation with Vincent and Jeff

Q: What inspired you to found Cranemere?

Vincent: A lifetime in finance and building businesses has taught me that, in an increasingly complex and uncertain world, among the best ways to create value is to own outstanding companies for the long-term.

The traditional private equity structure requires that you sell those businesses within three to five years, regardless of whether that’s the right decision for the business. In fact, many of the industry incentives encourage selling the best businesses quickly. That doesn’t make sense! Selling a business incurs substantial costs and is a significant distraction for management. For the private equity firm, it creates the problem of having to buy a new and equally good company when you have just sold an excellent business you knew very well.

Not only that, when you have a short-term mindset, commitments to innovation, expansion and the well-being of people and the environment are too often neglected – weakening both the businesses and society.

Cranemere was established to solve this problem. We have permanent capital in a corporate structure that enables us to focus on the best strategy to create value over the long-term and aligns the incentives of shareholders, management and the companies we partner with.

A Recent Partnership

“Innovation, design, and relentless focus on execution are core to the company’s ongoing success.”

Cranemere has partnered with the entrepreneurial co-founder and CEO of a market leading manufacturer of office furniture in the United States. For over 20 years the Company has been implementing and improving a unique, disruptive business model that combines affordable, award winning products, produced on a real-time made-to-order basis.

The company makes thousands of customized products a day on a two day lead time. Innovation, design, and relentless focus on execution are core to the company’s ongoing success. The team has built a company that has been winning for decades and is now a platform poised for continued expansion and growth.

The co-founder and CEO selected Cranemere ahead of multiple top-tier private equity firms due to our partnership-based approach, commitment to business building, and long-term focus. He didn’t want a boss, he wanted a partner to help navigate the big strategic questions ahead.

Today, our conversations are distinct. We talk about reinvestment to build a great company not repositioning for a sale. We focus on driving innovation, expanding into new markets, enhancing culture, and preserving legacy.

What’s in a name?

Vincent grew up next door to an iconic farm in South Africa called Cranemere, which is home to the national bird, the Blue Crane. The farm has been operated for seven generations by one family – each generation improving the farm before handing it on to the next. Our firm is inspired by this example of the power of private enterprise to steward lasting intergenerational growth with enduring values.