My next magazine column will be about Mitt Romney, presidential politics and private equity. When I recently mentioned this to someone, he asked: “Why aren’t you writing a similar piece about Jon Huntsman?”
It seems my conversant was under the false impression that candidate Jon Huntsman is the same Jon Huntsman who co-founded a $1.1 billion private equity firm called Huntsman Gay Global Capital. But he isn’t.
The Jon Huntsman running for president is the former governor of Utah and U.S. Ambassador to China. The private equity Jon Huntsman is his father, who previously founded specialty chemicals company Huntsman Corp. and who isn’t nearly as involved with the firm as is co-founder Bob Gay (a former colleague of Romney’s, as it so happens). The firm also happens to employ Jon Jr.’s brother Paul as a vice president.
Huntsman Jr. does not have any financial interest in his father’s firm, according to a source familiar with the matter.