Billionaire And Chobani Inc. Chief Executive Officer Hamdi Ulukaya Interview
Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani. Photograph by Chris Ratcliffe — Bloomberg/Getty Images

Chobani is not paying TPG for partner’s work

Jan 12, 2015

Last week, The New York Times reported that investors with private equity firm TPG Capital were "paying twice" for work being done by TPG partner Kevin Burns, who also is serving as the interim COO of yogurt maker Chobani (in which TPG invested last year). The paper basically alleged that Burns was being paid his regular TPG salary, derived from annual management fees paid by limited partners in TPG funds, while TPG also was receiving from Chobani a "a separate fee based on the partner's work on the particular investment." And, rather than sharing this separate fees with its limited partners, TPG had used a shadowy internal "recovery" group to keep most of the money in-house.

It story was overblown.

Michael Gonda, Chobani's vice president of corporate communications, says that Chobani is not paying Burns or TPG any sort of salary or stipend for Burns's work with the company.

Instead, sources familiar with the situation say that Chobani's only Burns-related remuneration is for travel and expense costs, as Burns lives in California while Chobani is based in upstate New York.

Burns is believed to be spending around half of his time on Chobani activities, while continuing to run TPG's industrial sector investment practice. He also is rumored to be in the running to become full-time CEO of Chobani, although a conclusion to that search is not imminent.

TPG declined to comment for this story.

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