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Ten powerful people working at family offices

Photo by olm26250/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by olm26250/iStock / Getty Images

Family offices are increasingly attracting some of the best talent in global investing. Typically, you’ll need an MBA from a leading university and plenty of good experience before being considered. Here are ten stars, in alphabetical order, that confirms the exceptional talent at family offices these days…


Scott Earthly, managing partner at Fremont Private Holdings

Earthly oversees private direct investments for the Fremont Group, the family office of the Bechtel family. A seasoned family office specialist investor, having worked for two other private investment groups before joining Fremont, Earthly has led many of the direct deals for the Bechtel family. He’s an alumnus of Goldman Sachs and McKinsey and holds an MBA from Stanford University.


Johannes Fritz, managing director at Skion

Fritz oversees the family office of Germany’s richest woman,  Susanne Klatten, who owns a sizable chunk of BMW. The classic loyal lieutenant, Fritz has worked for Klatten’s family office since 1989. He sits on many of the boards of firms the family office has invested in and is known for his shrewd investment abilities. An accountant by training, Fritz also holds a Ph.D in business administration.


Glenn Fuhrman, co-managing partner at MSD Capital

Fuhrman is the co-founder of Michael Dell’s family office, MSD Capital, and is head of its special investments group. A Goldman Sachs alumnus, Fuhrman is a private equity specialist, having served on the investment committee of the bank’s private equity partnerships. He holds an MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and is also known as a notable art collector and patron of the arts.


Kristin Gilbertson,  chief investment officer at Access Industries

Gilbertson oversees investments at Access Industries, the investment office of billionaire Len Blavatnik. She joined Access in 2013 after a stellar career as an investment specialist for a number of university endowments and before that was the principal investment officer for the World Bank. Gilbertson has impeccable academic credentials, having gained her first degree from Harvard and an MBA from Stanford.


Michael Larson, business manager and CIO at Cascade Investment

Larson might be the most senior of all family office executives given that he helps to oversee arguably the world’s biggest family office in terms of holdings, Cascade Investment. Cascade is owned by Bill and Melinda Gates and oversees a huge portfolio of assets, including a sizable holding in Berkshire Hathaway. Larson helped set up Cascade and sits on the board of various Cascade investments. He worked in senior roles for various asset managers before joining, including Harris Investment Management and Putnam Management Company.

Trent May, chief Investment officer at 1888 Management

May helped to launch the Koch brothers (Charles and David) family office, 1888 Management back in 2011, when it was linked directly to Koch Industries – it is now an independent entity. An asset management specialist, May joined from the Wyoming Retirement System, where he oversaw a $6 billion fund. He has considerable expertise in hedge funds, as well as many aspects of corporate management, like M&A, venture funding, and capital raising. This gives May across the board investing knowledge of public and private markets.


Eric Melloul, executive director at Verlinvest

Melloul oversees many of the beverages and consumer product holdings of Verlinvest, the family investment group for the Spoelberch and de Mévius families, who are linked to the world’s biggest brewery group, InBev. A corporate finance specialist, Melloul worked for Citibank and McKinsey before joined InBev and subsequently Verlinvest. He holds an MBA from Harvard.

Chris Orndorff, chief investment office at Vulcan

Orndorff joined Paul Allen’s family office Vulcan last June after 30 years in leadership roles in the asset management world. Orndorff joined from the fixed income specialist Western Asset Management and has also worked at Mercer Global Advisors, Northern Trust, and Payden & Rygel. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago.


Sandesh Patnam, investment manager at Premji Invest

Patnam works as a technology investment specialist for Premji Invest, the family office of Azim Premji, one of India’s wealthiest individuals. Patnam has directed many of the family office’s investments in tech companies and sits on the board of at least a half dozen of them. Based in San Francisco, he has an MBA from The Wharton School at The University of Pennsylvania and has a pretty good pedigree when it comes to venture investing, having worked at Bay Partners, a prominent Californian VC firm, for five years before joining Premji Invest.

Ryan Roberts,  investment partner at the Pritzker Group

Roberts joined the Pritzker Group, the investment office of Tony and J.B. Pritzker, at the beginning of 2017 as an investment partner in its private capital division. Roberts joined from Madison Dearborn Partners, where he oversaw more than $8 billion in US and international transactions. He holds an MBA from Harvard.