Managing director, TPG Capital (Australia)
Born in: Gray grew up in Launceston, Tasmania
Home Town: Melbourne
Like many other high finance bigwigs, Melbourne-based TPG Australia chief Ben Gray is wary of the media spotlight. He rarely gives interviews and when he does, they're not often personal. But that doesn't mean he's not influential. Far from it.
For a start he's the son of former Tasmanian Liberal premier Robin Gray. And another of the Melbourne University mid-90s power banking set. He's also a Harvard graduate, having completed his MBA at the Ivy League school in 1999.
But Gray isn't powerful because of his family connections or his educational background. Even if he probably learnt a few things from his father.
"Ben is probably the most Machiavellian of a lot of these guys," says an investment banking insider, who notes Gray's thoughtful approach to the sometimes-controverisal business of private equity.
Gray makes the contenders list as the pick of the locally-based private equity buyout boys, the barbarians at the gate looking to buy up corporate giants on credit and sell them off again at a profit.
"Ben is very very cautious and thoughtful with his words. But he is probably seen as the most hard-arsed of the private equity guys," says an observer.
TPG is probably most well-known for its debt-fuelled $1.4 billion takeover over of Myer in 2006, of which it sold its 81% stake in 2009. The ATO claim they are owed $739 million funds that flowed out of the country after the sale.
TPG were also part of the consortium involved in the failed multi-billion dollar Qantas takeover in 2007.
And while private equity has struggled to continue during the financial crisis, players like Gray will be the Money Movers to cash-in should debt become trendy again.