29 Mar 2010
Sir Ronald Cohen (MBA 1969) To Address HBS Students on Class Day 2010
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BOSTON— Sir Ronald Cohen (MBA 1969), chairman of the Portland Trust and Bridges Ventures and widely regarded as a founding father of the European venture capital industry, will give the Harvard Business School's 2010 Class Day keynote address on Wednesday, May 26.

Cohen is the co-founder and former chairman of Apax Partners one of the world's leading private equity investment groups. Across the United States, Europe and Asia the firm advises and manages funds totaling in excess of $35 billion.

Sir Ronald Cohen at the Global Business Summit at HBS in 2008 Photo: Russ Campbell

Cohen, a recipient of the 2006 HBS Alumni Achievement Award, was described by The Economist as "the compassionate capitalist" for his dedication to social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. He stepped down from his role as Apax's chairman in 2005 to devote his time to trying to improve the lives of the disadvantaged. He currently chairs Bridges Community Ventures, a community development venture fund he cofounded in 2002 to invest in businesses in England's poorest areas. He also helped create and fund The Portland Trust to alleviate poverty and ease tensions in the Middle East through economic means. In addition, Cohen is chairman of the U.K. Social Investment Task Force and the U.K. Commission on Unclaimed Assets.

A recipient of the British Venture Capital Association's Hall of Fame award, he was knighted in 2001 for his services to venture capital. Cohen is the author of the bestselling entrepreneurship book, Second Bounce of the Ball: Turning risk into opportunity.

The HBS Class Day ceremony will take place the day before Harvard University's Commencement exercises and the HBS diploma ceremony, which will both occur on Thursday, May 27. Class Day will also include a welcome from the co-presidents of the MBA Class of 2010, faculty teaching awards, and a student speaker.

The Class Day keynote speaker is selected each year by a student committee responsible for planning the ceremony, which is open to members of the graduating class, their guests, HBS alumni, and faculty and staff.

For more information on HBS Class Day and Harvard University Commencement, go to www.hbs.edu/commencement. A profile of Cohen written when he received the HBS Alumni Achievement Award was featured in the HBS Alumni Bulletin.