John A. Canning Jr. has seen success throughout his career. He graduated from Denison University in 1966 and went on to graduate from Duke University’s School of Law in 1969. After graduation, he took a position as an attorney at The First National Bank of Chicago. There, he practiced law as assistant general counsel until 1980, when he was selected as president of First Chicago Venture Capital.
He served in that role until 1992, at which point he co-founded Madison Dearborn Partners LLC. Upon founding the private equity investment firm, he served as president and CEO until 2003, and then as chairman and CEO from 2004 until leaving the CEO role in 2008. He is still the chairman. MDP has invested more than $13.9 billion and achieved a compound annual rate of return of more than 20 percent over its 19-year history. Its current portfolio includes L.A. Fitness, The Yankee Candle Co. Inc., Cinemark Inc., The Topps Co. Inc. and CDW Corp., among others.
His success hasn’t been just in the companies he has run, though. He and his wife administer The Canning Foundation, which provides financial aid to Chicago-area schools and funds shelters and transitional programs for abused women and their children. The foundation provides more than 100 multiyear scholarships to inner-city children. The couple is also deeply committed to the WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger) program, which provides a continuum of integrated services in an effort to end domestic violence and homelessness, one family at a time.
On top of these programs, he’s also active through his service on various boards. He is a trustee and chairman of The Field Museum, director and co-chairman of the Big Shoulders Fund, chairman of the Chicago News Cooperative, and former director and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He also serves on the board of directors of Corning Inc., Exelon Corp., Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, Norfolk Tides Baseball Club, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Rasmussen College Inc., TransUnion Corp. and the Children’s Inner City Educational Fund.
How to reach: Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, (312) 895-1000 or www.mdcp.com