In October of 2018, a group of Vistage Chairs independently put together a ChairVoice Survey to get input from the Chairs on a number of Vistage related topics.  115 Chairs responded, with respective tenures as follows:

  • 50% had been with Vistage for at least 15 years.
  • 71% had been with Vistage for at least 11 years.
  • 90% had been with Vistage for at least 6 years.

A number of topics were covered, including whether Chairs believe Providence Equity understand the challenges of Chairing.  See the details below:

————————————-

Q:  Do you think that Providence (our private equity owner) understands what chairing is about and challenge of the role?

A:  Results are as follows:

  • Yes…….03.2%
  • No……..73.4%
  • Other….23.4%

————————————-

Here are Some of the More Interesting Comments:

  • I think Providence is clueless. It is not just a lack of understanding. I believe they think they own something that does not exist. And that whatever does exist can be forced to their own purpose to service the debt, provide a return on equity and provide a product that can be sold to the next PE firm for a handsome multiple.
  • NO, short-term ROI focus is only too apparent. They do not realize the Chairs are the product and that Chairs need to be leadership thought leaders, not sales puppets.
  • I don’t think we know for sure, but my sense is that they are staying out of the business for the most part and leaving it to Sam and team to run. Since Sam doesn’t fully understand our role, I don’t see how Providence could.
  • If they did it would be a first for the PE industry. Does Sam really understand or give a rip? Basic focus for them is to reduce the Debt to EBITA ratios in my opinion.
  • See no visible evidence. Virtually all PE firms focus on return. How quickly can they get back to market and crank a multiple. Providence is no different.
  • The scope of delusional thinking at headquarters is mind boggling.
  • Bottom line profitability… that’s their focus… everything else is secondary.
  • Absolutely not and I don’t think they care. They seem to be interested in transforming the company from leadership development to information services in order to gain a higher multiple.
  • Clueless and not interested. Sole focus is increasing EBITDA to flip.
  • I don’t know. Providence equity now has $60 billion under management. In 2015 they lost $2 billion in 4 companies they invested in. They rolled up MHI Global into TwentyEighty which was taken over in January 2017 by a consortium of banks and investments companies and funds when they missed their interest payment in December 2016.
  • We’re a small company compared to the other companies in Providence’s portfolio. Vistage serves small/mid cap companies. I think that we are too granular for them to want to understand what Chairing is about and the challenges of the role. I believe that the Vistage executive team is learning what it is about. However, I don’t know how it is translated when it comes to the strategic plan for Vistage by Providence.
  • Never talked to them. Has anyone from this company reached out to the top 20-30 chairs? The answer is no.
  • I haven’t yet seen any evidence to prove that it has.
  • It appears they don’t care.
  • Not at ALL.
  • Not a clue.