by Jeremiah Norris (Colombia 1963-65)
(A cautionary note to readers: a significant portion of Patricia Cloherty’s professional career involved her firm’s investments in Russia at a time when it was a viable member of the Community Nations. That status has been tabled since its February, 2022 unprovoked invasion of Ukraine).
Patricia Cloherty earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of San Francisco, followed by two MAs from Columbia University. After hergraduation, she became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Brazil from 1963 to 1965.
She began her career in venture capital at Patricof & Co. in New York, which she joined in 1969. She was named a partner and later would become resident and co-chair of the firm, along with founder Alan Patricof. After she left the firm, Patricof & Co. (now known as Apax Partners), became one of the largest private equity firms globally. In an interview with Private Equity International Magazine, Patricia stated that her track record in Russia included 14 write-offs and a return of 1.2 times capital invested.
In 1977, Patricia was appointed Deputy Administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration by then-president Jimmy Carter. In 1979, she founded and ran Tessler & Cloherty with her husband Daniel Cloherty, which specialized in small businesses. In 1991, President George H. W. Bush appointed her as chairman of an investment advisory council to revamp the Small Business Investment Company program of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In 1995, President Clinton appointed Patricia board member of “The Russia Investment Fund” with $440 million of investment capital. In 1998, she assumed the role of chairman, and in 2004 she became chairman and chief executive officer of the US Russia Investment Fund’s general partner: Delta Private Equity Partners. The funds made direct investments in Russian companies in the financial services sector, consumer-related industries, and in the media (telecommunications), semiconductor and biotechnology fields. In April 2009, Private Equity International Magazine reported that Delta Private Equity Partners was collaborating with UFG Private Equity, one of its limited partners, and was considering a merger with them.
Patricia was a director of NYSE Euronext, a liquid exchange group located in New York City, and is a trustee of International House of New York Teachers College, Columbia University, and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is also a former president and chairman of the National Venture Capital Association, the national advocacy group for venture capital firms in the U. S. From 1982–86, she served on the Board of Directors of Accion International, a Washington D. C. internationally based microfinance firm.
In both 2006 and 2007, Patricia was named by Forbes Magazine on its “Midas List” of the top 100 deal-makers and investors. On 17 March 2008, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree awarding Patricia the Order of Friendship for her contributions to the development of Russian business and strengthening friendship and cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United States of America. In 2012, she was the recipient of the Women in Private Equity Trailblazer Award given annually by the Falk Marques Group in tribute to pioneering women who have paved the way for their peers in private equity and other alternatives.
In a professional career marked by other well-earned awards, Patricia served as manager of the U. S. Russia Investment Fund, and Delta Russia Fund, two venture capital funds which operated in Russia. In 2004, Patricia was named Business Women of the Year by the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. In 2007, Caine’s New York Business named Patricia as one of the Most Powerful Women in New York’s financial sector.
Given Patricia’s long and productive career in the highly competitive global financial sectors that are predominately male oriented, she has been recognized for her competency by peers across multiple venture capital funds and Small Business entities, earning her a “tip of the hat” accolade for a Profile in Citizenship.