Cranemere Founder, Chairman and CEO
Vincent Mai founded Cranemere in 2014 with the goal of creating a private holding company that allows for long-term value creation. Since then, Vincent has assembled a seasoned team of professionals who partner with several companies. Cranemere’s unique structure permits it to take a long-term view funding capital investment and acquisitions to accelerate growth and build lasting value for all stakeholders.
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. He also served on several boards including the Council on Foreign Relations, The Carnegie Corporation of New York and the International Center for Transitional Justice. He currently serves on the board of the Juilliard School, among others.
Seeing the talented Cranemere team develop into a close knit and effective group over the last seven years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. We are all on the same page in terms of values and mission. We benefit from the fact that Cranemere’s strategy is focused exclusively on growing our businesses for the long-term working in close partnership with the management teams of our Operating Companies.
A cause I care about and support is early childhood education. I’ve had the great privilege of being involved with Sesame Workshop for over 20 years, including serving as chairman of the board for 13 years. Through my deep involvement with Sesame Street I came to understand that early childhood education has a profound impact on achieving better outcomes in the quality of people’s lives later on, especially young children growing up in poverty. For this reason my family and I continue to be actively engaged supporting early childhood education initiatives.
One of my favorite quotes is Benjamin Franklin’s “Well done is better than well said.” It’s important to have written mission statements that everyone understands and supports. But in the end, the most important virtue is having a culture that emphasizes just doing the right thing at all times, in matters big and small. Franklin’s simple quote captures this idea perfectly.
Having grown up in South Africa, I have been inspired from an early age by Nelson Mandela. He exemplified the idea of servant leadership. It was never about him but about the cause and values that were important to him. He combined a steely resolve with humility. And having spent 27 years in prison, when he was released he showed the world that forgiveness and reconciliation go together.