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Finding People to Roll up Their Sleeves

Henry Guy proved himself ? and found a pipeline at Vanderbilt for others like him

Henry Guy Jr.
President and CEO, Modern Holdings

Vanderbilt MBA 1998

Henry Guy is a believer. A former naval officer who earned his MBA at Vanderbilt, he has been impressed enough with Owen’s program to view it now as a continuing resource in building his company’s future.

Henry is president and CEO of Modern Holdings, an investment group with headquarters in New York and Stockholm, investing primarily in telecommunications and professional services industries, the company requires that its portfolio businesses achieve profitability within two years of start-up. Since assuming the top spot in 2002, Henry has turned to Vanderbilt to fill several key roles in his global organization. Including Henry, three of Modern Holdings’ top five managers are Owen grads. And there are others he’s hired and groomed to run portfolio businesses.

“I need people who can roll up their sleeves and help transform a good company into a great company or take a distressed company as a turnaround opportunity and make it a fantastic company,” he says. “That’s hard to fine, but so far I’ve been really fortunate to find several of those people at Owen.”

Part of the satisfaction in passing on opportunity stems from Henry’s own history. He was brought into Modern Holdings by Swedish industrialist Jan Stenbeck, who admired his grit.

“He told me after the fact,” says Henry, “that he was impressed by the fact that, as the lone Vanderbilt grad among graduates from Harvard and Wharton and Chicago, I wanted to prove I deserved to be there and was as good as, if not better than, them.”

It was what he sees in every Vanderbilt Business grad he brings into his company.

“I love bringing people from Owen up to New York because they’re hungry,” he says. “They want to show they can get the job done. My experience there has been that these are smart men and women who have a tremendous work ethic, and definitely will go the extra mile.”

In addition to recruiting at Owen, Henry is an active member of the school’s Alumni Board. His relationship with Owen is, for him, just another extension of his successful business and personal philosophy.

“It’s funny,” he says, “as you get into the business of allocating capital, which is what we do on a daily basis, the ROI mindset becomes pervasive. This mindset applies to the time and effort I spend at Owen as well. It’s where I recruit for my business, where I’m involved at a board level. I feel strongly that Vanderbilt is where I’ll see the greatest return on that investment.”

“I love bringing people from Owen up to New York because they’re hungry. They want to show they can get the job done.”