PE lobbying group unveiled

The Private Equity Council will be based in Washington DC and led by Douglas Lowenstein, currently the head of the video game industry association.

The Private Equity Council today announced its formation and named its debut president and chief executive – Douglas Lowenstein, currently the president of the Entertainment Software Association, a lobbying group for the US video game industry.

The Private Equity Council (PEC) was formed by large private equity firms with the intent of educating and influencing policy makers in Washington. According to a press release, initial members of the PEC include Apollo Management, Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, The Carlyle Group, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Silver Lake Partners, Texas Pacific Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

The purpose of the PEC will be to “conduct research and provide information about the industry to policy makers and others interested in understanding what private equity is, how it operates and the increasingly important role this alternative asset class plays in the US and global economy,” the statement read. “[T]he Council will launch research, public affairs and government outreach initiatives to explain the multiple contributions private equity makes – to investors, to companies and their employees, to the economic well-being of communities and to public employee pension funds.”

Lowenstein will begin his new responsibilities in February. He could not be reached for comment. 

Lowenstein was the first president of the video game group upon its formation in 1994. As an advocate for developers of video games, Lowenstein defended the industry against critics who claimed that video games promoted violence.

Prior to the Entertainment Software Association, Lowenstein was a strategic communications specialist at Robinson Lake Sawyer Miller and a legislative director for US Senator Howard Metzenbaum. He was a Washington correspondent for Cox Newspapers during the 1970s.

The move to create a private equity trade association is largely the brainchild of Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein, who has criticised the industry for not being more communicative with the public and with government policy makers. This year a handful of large private equity firms hired veteran Washington lobbyist Harry Clark to help establish a trade group and hire executive leadership.

The PEC will be distinct from a separate trade association for venture capital firms in the US called the National Venture Capital Association. Although the NVCA accepts as members buyout firms with venture capital arms, it has not expanded its membership to include firms that primarily pursue buyouts.