Michael T. Tokarz
Founder, Tokarz Group
Chairman, MVC Capital
Co-Founder, Public Pension Capital
Vice Chair, Shield T3 (New innovation combatting COVID-19)
An unusual answer to an IQ question unleashed my curiosity.
It was one of those “which one of these is not like the other” types of questions. The correct answer, and why it was the correct answer, intrigued me.
It was a completely different way of looking at a problem.
According to those who remember my childhood, I was always a bit inquisitive, but ever since that day in junior high, I’ve looked at things differently. I coined it “uncommon thinking” and it’s the foundation of what we do at the Tokarz Group.
We specialize in revealing the potential in the uncelebrated.
Nascent companies like a Latvian auto dealership that sold just 200 cars a year.
I looked at the market, what was happening with the European union and I saw opportunity. I invested $5mm in 2004, broke even in 2007 and sold the business 33 months later for $125 million.
Where one person saw a dealership that couldn’t turn a profit, I saw a beautiful building and people with a desire and the forthcoming means to buy cars. Good cars.
You won’t have a clue about what a company needs, if you don’t get your hands dirty.
Getting our hands dirty isn’t just for photo ops. We engrain ourselves within each organization we select. We walk the floors of the manufacturing company. We watch and listen to the workers. Not just on the first day, but every single day we are on site. And we make it practice to be on site a lot.
If you’re looking for a partner, look for someone with experience, connections and who asks the good questions. The hard ones that make you say “Hmmm. I never thought of it that way.”
The last thing a cash-hungry business needs is a partner that’s not hungry to learn.
Mr. Tokarz is a senior investment professional with over 40 years of lending and investment experience, and the Chairman & CEO of the Tokarz Group and Portfolio Head of MVC Capital.
Prior to founding the Tokarz Group in 2002, Mr. Tokarz was a General Partner with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (“KKR”), one of the world’s most experienced private equity firms.
During his 18-year tenure at KKR, he participated in diverse leveraged buyouts, financings, restructurings and dispositions. Mr. Tokarz currently serves on the corporate board of Mueller Water Products, Inc. – a company he created. (NYSE:MWA). KKR, including Mr. Tokarz, have been the subject of numerous books including Barbarians at the Gate, Merchants of Debt, and The Money Machine.
In addition, Mr. Tokarz is on the Board of Managers of Illinois Ventures, a University of Illinois-focused venture capital seed fund and high technology incubator, and is Chairman of an affiliated private equity follow-on investment fund, to which he attracted over $1.9 billion of co-investment.
Mr. Tokarz also served as the Chairman of the Board of the University of Illinois Foundation and its Investment and Executive Committees. He has also served on the Boards of Con Agra, Beatrice Foods, RJR Nabisco, Safeway Food Stores and CNO Financial.
Mr. Tokarz is a frequent speaker and lecturer, including the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, University of Chicago, New York University, University of Florida, and University of Miami among many others. He was selected as one of the “Ten Best Corporate Directors in America” by Outstanding Directors Exchange in 2007.
Mr. Tokarz lives in Purchase, NY, with Nancy, his wife of over 45 years. They have two successful entrepreneurial sons, Andrew and Justin.
Andrew recently became CEO for Trynzic, an innovation venture focused on delivering a new generation of service chain solutions that advance the promise of IoT for utilities and other industries. Previously he was instrumental in the growth of Apervita, a software provider that helps hospitals and insurers share data.
Justin is founder and CEO of Moon + Mercury, a radical health and wellness brand. A professional in market and brand strategies, Justin previously was with Intuit Software and Ogilvy & Mather.
Custom Alloy Corporation
MVC Automotive Group
Focus Point Global
Plymouth Rock Energy
MVC Partners LLC
Companies of MVC Private Equity Fund L.P.
Summit Custom Spray Drying
Turf Products, LLC
Timberland Machines & Irrigation , Inc.
Ohio Medical Corporation
Huamei Capital Company
Bektrom Foods, Inc
Gibraltar Port Authority
Nextstar Broadcasting Group
Thank you for your interest in the Tokarz Group.
287 Bowman Ave, 2nd Floor
Purchase, NY 10577