NEW YORK – Patricia Cloherty, a 30-year veteran of Patricof & Co. Ventures, in mid-December said she would scale back her daily responsibilities as co-chairperson of the firm, starting in June with a transition from general partner to special limited partner.
Ms. Cloherty’s duties at the firm will remain unchanged until the transition, after which she will continue to serve on the boards of several Patricof portfolio companies and occasionally help source and co-invest in deals. She will continue to maintain an office at the firm’s New York headquarters.
Ms. Cloherty dismissed the notion that her decision to leave a full-time position at Patricof is some sort of semi-retirement. “I don’t recognize the R-word,” she joked. “I plan on having a business card that reads, Pat Cloherty, Explorer,’ with a capital E.'”
While she cannot say at the moment exactly what being a professional explorer entails, it will include expanding her participation in various scientific foundations and activities, Ms. Cloherty said. She currently serves as a trustee of several such institutions, including The Kaufman Center and Columbia Teachers’ College.
“The world is in a Golden Era of science,” she said, declining to elaborate about the type of projects she may become involved with after June. “I don’t, [however,] plan to parcel myself out to non-profits.”
Ms. Cloherty joined Patricof at its inception, taking a brief leave of absence to serve as deputy administrator of the United States Small Business Administration during President Jimmy Carter’s term in office. She also has held positions including president and chairperson of the National Venture Capital Association and chairperson of an advisory council to President George Bush focused on revamping the Small Business Investment Company program. In addition, Ms. Cloherty is chairperson of the U.S. Russia Investment Fund, as well as a number of other educational and scientific foundations.
Ms. Cloherty’s decision to step away from the firm was a plan that was several years in the making. “Everything I have done since I rejoined the firm in 1988 has been done in preparation of this moment,” she said. Earlier last year, the firm closed the $410 million APA Excelsior V (VCJ, July 1998, page 26) and created a three-person operating committee to take charge of the firm’s day-to-day activities. Several partners have been added or promoted in the past several years, including two-year veteran Paul Vais’ elevation to managing director and partner in August (VCJ, October 1998, page 26).
“I think there’s a natural transition that any firm has to go through,” said Patricof Co-Chairperson Alan Patricof. “Pat and I have been talking about this for a couple of years … [and] we’ve been gradually giving people more responsibility,” he added, emphasizing the firm’s careful preparation for the loss of such a key executive.
Responding to a question about his own future with the firm, however, the Patricof founder unequivocally responded without hesitation. “I’m not leaving anyplace,” he said. “I have no intention at all … particularly with Pat’s [departure].”