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About Bryan

Bryan Cressey is a pioneer in the field of private equity investing and is co-founder of four of the largest private equity firms in the United States. He has managed billions of dollars of private capital and is well known for generating consistently strong investment returns. With over 40 years of experience, Bryan is recognized as one of the country’s greatest investors and builders of companies and leadership talent.

Bryan Cressey
Born Bryan Charles Cressey
September 28, 1949
Seattle, U.S.
Education University of Washington (BS)
Harvard University (MBA)
Harvard University (JD)
Occupation investor, philanthropist, entrepreneur
Known for Co-Founder of Cressey & Co., Frist Cressey Ventures, Thoma Cressey Bravo, and GTCR
Spouse Iliana Sweis
Children 3 daughters

Bryan Cressey (born September 28, 1949) is an American investor, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He co-founded Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner (GTCR).[1], Thoma Cressey Bravo[2], Cressey & Company[3], Frist Cressey Ventures[4], and the Above and Beyond addiction treatment center[5][6]. His firms have managed billions of dollars of private capital and invested in multiple firms primarily focused on healthcare including two companies traded on the New York Stock Exchange, Select Medical and Belden.

Early Life

Cressey was born in Seattle, Washington[7] to Charles Cressey, a social worker and professor, and Lorraine Cressey, a registered nurse.


Cressey was a National Merit Scholar at the University of Washington where he graduated with an economics degree in 1972.[8]. He then attended Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School simultaneously, earning his Juris Doctor with Honors and an MBA in 1976[7]. He put himself through graduate school by working as a conveyor repairman and a janitor[7].


Cressey worked at First Chicago before co-founding Golder Thoma Cressey in 1980 which later became Golder, Thoma, Cressey, Rauner (GTCR). In 1998, Cressey and Thoma left GTCR and formed a new firm, Thoma Cressey, which became Thoma Bravo in 2008 when Cressey co-founded Cressey & Company in Chicago. In 2016, Cressey joined forces with heart and lung transplant surgeon and former United States Senate Majority Leader Senator Bill Frist to create Frist Cressey Ventures in Nashville which invests in innovative young healthcare companies.


"The life of each person on earth has the same value as my life, or your life. No matter how bad a person is, or poor they are, or aged or ill, or mean, their life has the exact same importance as mine. This drives not just my attitude towards each person, but much of my behavior and actions."

Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center

In 2015, Cressey created Above and Beyond. Above and Beyond is an addiction treatment center in Chicago that provides addiction treatment services at no cost to the poor and homeless on Chicago's West side. Its mission is to help individuals reignite their self-esteem and find their life's purpose while working to leave their addiction behind. Above and Beyond was named "2020 Organization of the Year" by the National Association of Addiction Professionals in recognition of its innovative approach[9] .


In addition to advising and supporting Above and Beyond, Cressey:

  • is past chairman of Chicago's Adler Planetarium[10]
  • serves on Junior Achievement's executive committee[11]
  • was the lead donor to Cathedral Shelter's Cressey House[12]
  • was the lead donor for the Lake Forest Cressey Center for the Arts
  • serves as a member of the Dean's Advisory Board at Harvard Law School[7]
Published Works

Cressey wrote Be A Winner! Life's Handbook for Joy & Success in 2021. It contains principles and strategies Cressey believes make people successful in business and live a joyful life[13].

Awards and Honors

Time Magazine's 1986 "America's Best" edition featured Cressey, along with John Doerr, as leading young venture capitalists[14]. Cressey has been the subject of articles in many publications including Fortune, Harvard Law Today, Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Crain's Chicago Business. The Wall Street Journal credited his firm with inventing the Industry Consolidation Investment Strategy.

  • Named one of the 20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans by Streetwise[15]
  • Inductee, Chicago Business Hall of Fame (2016)[16]
  • Inductee, Chicago Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame (2005)[17]
  • Stanley C. Golder Medal, Illinois Venture Capital Association (2009)[18]
  • Healthcare Lifetime Achievement Award from HCPEA (2014)
  • Board Member, various businesses
  • Past Chairman, NYSE firm Belden
  • Dean’s Advisory Board, Harvard Law School
  • Distinguished Alumni Speakers Award, Harvard Law School (2000)
  1. ^ "Healthcare Investor Bryan Cressey: Obamacare Irrelevant to Our Business". Fortune. December 9, 2014.
  2. ^ "Bryan Cressey Profile". Bloomberg.
  3. ^ "Cressey & Co Company Profile". Dun & Bradstreet.
  4. ^ "Executive Profile". Wall Street Journal.
  5. ^ "Privately Funded Recovery Center in Chicago Offers Different Approach to Treatment". WGN News. March 23, 2017.
  6. ^ "A Gem on the West Side Offers Free Outpatient Treatment". ABC 7 Chicago. November 8, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c d "A Conversation with Bryan Cressey". Harvard Law Today. November 24, 2014.
  8. ^ "Notable Economics Alumni". University of Washington.
  9. ^ "2020 NAADAC Award Winners". NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals.
  10. ^ "Adler Planetarium Boss to Retire". Chicago Sun-Times. March 7, 2012.
  11. ^ "Junior Achievement of Chicago Board Members". Junior Achievement.
  12. ^ "Cressey Crusade to Help Those With Addiction Is Personal". Chicago Sun-Times. July 17, 2016.
  13. ^ "Be A Winner!". Simon & Schuster.
  14. ^ "America's Best: It's an Addictive Life". Time Magazine. June 16, 1986.
  15. ^ "20 Most Inspiring Chicagoans". Streetwise.
  16. ^ "Chicago Business Hall of Fame Laureates". Junior Achievement.
  17. ^ "Distinguished Members of the Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame". University of Illinois at Chicago.
  18. ^ "Stanley C. Golder Award". IVCA.
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