TPG Capital

TPG Growth head suspended in wake of college admissions scandal

March 12, 2019 View comment (1)
Bill McGlashan, a founder and managing partner at TPG Growth, has been put on leave from the firm indefinitely after he was among dozens of people charged Tuesday in connection with a sweeping college admissions scandal in which wealthy parents allegedly tried to guarantee their children's admissions to prestigious universities via bribery and fraud.

Late Tuesday afternoon, TPG Capital co-CEO Jim Coulter announced that McGlashan had been placed on indefinite administrative leave, effective immediately. Coulter will serve as an interim managing partner at TPG Growth and at The Rise Fund in his stead.

According to charging documents, McGlashan attempted to engineer his son's admission to top colleges including the University of Southern California. He allegedly paid $50,000 to have his son's ACT exam results doctored and pledged $250,000 to the school itself, bribing USC senior associate athletic director in Donna Heinel in the process. McGlashan and William Rick Singer, who founded the fake test prep business at the center of the scandal, discussed creating a fake athletic profile to make McGlashan's son appear as a kicker or punter recruited for the USC football team, thus lowering admissions standards and increasing his chances of getting into the school. The conversations were caught on wiretap.

"He does have really strong legs," McGlashan said, per the charging documents. "Maybe he'll become a kicker. You never know."

Prosecutors allege Singer received some $25 million in bribes from parents to get their kids into the country's top universities, including Stanford, Georgetown, Yale, Wake Forest and UCLA. The money was then funneled into a nonprofit arm of his college prep business, Edge College & Career Network, which he used to bribe college coaches, administrators and standardized exam overseers. Singer reportedly cooperated with authorities after being caught; he has pleaded guilty in the case. USC fired Heinel on Tuesday afternoon along with its water polo coach. 

McGlashan co-founded The Rise Fund, the social impact investing division of TPG that's paired up with the likes of Laurene Powell Jobs, Bono and Richard Branson. The Rise Fund is currently in the midst of fundraising for its second flagship fund, which has a goal of $3.5 billion, after its debut vehicle brought in $2 billion in 2016. Coulter will serve as an interim managing partner at TPG Growth and at The Rise Fund in his stead.

McGlashan isn't the only member of the finance industry involved. Others charged include Hercules Capital founder Manuel Henriquez, Dragon Global founder Bob Zangrillo and Boston-based private equity executive John Wilson, among others. Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin were also among those charged following the investigation, which the Justice Department reportedly referred to as "Operation Varsity Blues."

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