The University of Virginia Darden School of Business and the Darden School Foundation today announce that James A. Cooper (MBA '84) of St. Louis, Missouri, senior managing partner at Thompson Street Capital, will serve as vice chair of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, effective immediately. He succeeds Phil Knisely (MBA '78), adviser at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, of Chicago, Illinois, who stepped into the role of chair (thus vacating the role of vice chair) in June 2012.
"We are excited to have Jim serve on Darden's board in this capacity," said Knisely. "He is an experienced private equity executive and has served as co-chair of the Audit & Finance Committee of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees. We are extremely grateful for his past service to Darden, and we look forward to the positive impact of his leadership."
Cooper emphasized his support of the School and relationship with the dean, expressing his enthusiasm at stepping into this new role. "As a member of the Class of 1984, I joined the Darden community at the same time Dean Bruner did. We have a longstanding relationship of mutual respect and cooperation, and I look forward to working closely with him in the vice chair role."
Cooper founded Thompson Street Capital Partners (TSCP) in 2000 and is the firm's senior managing partner. He has been active in private equity for 20 years. He has served on the boards of directors of Kele Companies, Iracore International, Universal Air Filters and Thermon Group Holdings Inc.
Bob Bruner, dean of the Darden School of Business and the Charles C. Abbott Professor of Business Administration, said: "We are thrilled to have Jim step into the role of vice chair and bring his experience and wisdom to this position. I have known him for many years and have wonderful faith and trust in him. Phil Knisely, Jim and I have a strong and supportive working relationship, for which I am extremely grateful. We look forward to benefitting from Jim's insights on leadership, engagement and fundraising."
Prior to TSCP, Cooper spent seven years with J.P. Morgan in New York City and eight years with a St. Louis-based private equity firm. He serves on the board of directors of First Banks Inc., the Development Board of St. Louis Children's Hospital, and is finance committee chair of the Community School. Prior to receiving his MBA from Darden, he earned an M.S. and B.S. in Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He has served on Darden's board of trustees since 2011.
"I am excited by the opportunity to serve the Darden School in this leadership capacity," said Cooper. "I hope to contribute in a lasting manner to the School that gave me such a valuable educational experience, which has strongly influenced my professional career."
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About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business
The Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, the highest-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.
About the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation
The Darden School Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the Darden School by promoting philanthropic support from alumni, friends and corporations; managing endowment funds for the School's exclusive benefit; and operating Darden's top-ranked Executive Education program, the Inn at Darden and Abbott Center hospitality. Darden's elected board of trustees oversees the Foundation's strategies and gives time and advice, providing an important link between the academic and business communities.
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