TPG Puts McGlashan on Leave After Charges in College Scandal

(Bloomberg) -- Private equity giant TPG put Bill McGlashan on indefinite administrative leave after he was charged Tuesday in a sweeping criminal conspiracy with improperly helping his son try to win admission to top colleges.

Co-Chief Executive Officer Jim Coulter will be the interim managing partner of the TPG Growth and Rise funds that McGlashan ran, according to a statement Tuesday from the firm. McGlashan was named with other parents, coaches and test administrators in the indictment, which detailed schemes to give cash to test-takers to help students cheat on entrance exams and to pay coaches to designate applicants as athletic recruits, according to prosecutors.

TPG Puts McGlashan on Leave After Charges in College Scandal

McGlashan has been the face of social impact investing at TPG, which manages more than $103 billion in assets. Under McGlashan, the social impact business has attracted significant assets from clients, including public pension plans, and invested in educational ventures. TPG raised $2 billion in 2017 for the Rise Fund, the largest social impact pool of its kind.

The indictment comes at an inopportune time for TPG. The firm planned to start raising money for its second Rise Fund last year.

Educational Investing

McGlashan has attracted high-profile philanthropists, business leaders and activists, including musician-turned-investor Bono, to sit on the board of the Rise Fund. The firm also recruited former Secretary of State John Kerry to help identify investments and advise portfolio companies across a number of sectors with a focus on renewable energy.

In July, the Rise Fund agreed to invest in DreamBox Learning, an education technology company that focuses on math.

“This investment will be The Rise Fund’s largest education investment to date and continues to cement their role as a leading global education investor,” according to a joint press release from the firms at the time.

McGlashan got an MBA from Stanford and a bachelor’s degree at Yale. He is a member of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council and trustee at Marin Academy, a high school in San Rafael, California. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

Admissions Scheme

The buyout executive allegedly worked with others in an elaborate scheme to help his son get into leading universities. He paid $50,000 to a charity with the understanding that his son’s answers on the ACT exam would be improved, according to court documents.

Under the arrangement, in 2017 a proctor traveled to Los Angeles from Tampa, Florida, to administer the ACT at a test center rather than at the student’s high school in Northern California, the documents say. After the student took the test, the proctor corrected his answers to produce a score of 34 out of a possible 36. That score was later submitted as part of his application to Northeastern University in Boston.

McGlashan, whose conversations were captured on a wiretap, also discussed creating a fake sports profile of his son as a football kicker to help him gain admission at the University of Southern California as a recruited athlete -- a ploy referred to as a “side door.”

The accomplice, called Cooperating Witness 1 in the documents, told McGlashan he had made false athletic profiles “a million times.”

Fake Athletic Profile

“I’ll pick a sport and we’ll do a picture of him,” said the accomplice, who planned to use Photoshop software. “We’ll put his face on the picture whatever. Just so he plays whatever.”

McGlashan said he had pictures of his son playing lacrosse. But since it was their understanding that USC didn’t have a lacrosse team, they settled on making the student a football player. And because his high school didn’t field a football squad, they decided to turn him into a punter who learned the skill at a sports camp.

“You could inspire him,” McGlashan said to his accomplice. “You may actually turn him into something. I love it.”

The total cost to the private equity executive: at least $250,000, the documents say.

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