Mike Leavitt is the Investment Committee Chairman of Leavitt Equity Partners. Mike is also the founder of Leavitt Partners where he helps clients navigate the future as they transition to new and better models of care. In previous roles, Mike served in the Cabinet of President George W. Bush (as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and Secretary of Health and Human Services) and as a three-time elected governor of Utah.
Mike grew up in Cedar City, Utah, where his upbringing was rooted in the values of the American West, with its emphasis on hard work and common sense. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business while working in the insurance industry. In 1984, he became chief executive of The Leavitt Group, a family business that is now the nation’s second largest, privately held insurance brokerage.
In 1993, Mike was elected governor of Utah. He served three terms (1993-2003). In 2003, he joined the Cabinet of President George W. Bush, serving in two positions: first as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (2003-2005) and then as secretary of Health and Human Services (2005-2009). At HHS, he administered a $750 billion budget — nearly 25 percent of the entire federal budget — and 67,000 employees.
He led the implementation of the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. The task required the design, systematization, and implementation of a plan to provide 43 million seniors with a new prescription drug benefit. By the end of the first year, enrollments exceeded projections, prices were lower than projected, and seniors expressed high levels of satisfaction.
Mike’s strategic ability can be seen in his redesign of the nation’s system of quality and safety standards for imported goods. In the spring of 2006, President Bush assigned him to lead a government-wide response. Within months, he commended a major strategic shift in U.S. policy on import regulation and trade.
A pattern of innovation runs throughout Mike’s career. When he was elected governor, Utah’s major freeway system was dangerously inadequate. Taking what some thought was a significant political and financial risk, Mike instigated a design-build system, creating cost and quality incentives between the state and its contractors. The project was finished in half the originally projected time and well under budget.
Mike is, at heart, an entrepreneur. As governor, he organized a group of his colleagues to form Western Governors University. At WGU, degrees are earned based on competency rather than credit hours. WGU now has more than 60,000 students who reside in each of the 50 states and several foreign countries. Enrollment is growing at 35 percent a year. In November 2008, TIME magazine named WGU “the best relatively cheap university you’ve never heard of.”
Collaborator is a word that comes up repeatedly when one examines Mike’s background. His skill led his colleague governors to elect him as chairman of the National Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association and Western Governors’ Association. His book—Finding Allies, Building Alliances—was released in September 2013 by Jossey-Bass Publishers and chronicles his expertise and passion for collaboration.
Mike is a seasoned diplomat, leading U.S. delegations to more than 50 countries. He has conducted negotiations on matters related to health, the environment, and trade. At the conclusion of his service, the Chinese government awarded him the China Public Health Award – the first time this award has ever been given to a foreign government official.
Taylor Leavitt is president and CEO of Leavitt Equity Partners. Taylor is responsible for managing and executing the overall mission of LEP and its investment activities and subsequent performance—including directing the management of the firm’s investment decisions, portfolio holdings, due diligence processes, and relationships with its investors and partner funds. Taylor also serves as a board member (or observer) on several LEP portfolio companies as well as a board member of Leavitt Partners, LLC. Taylor has led Leavitt Partners’ Equity Practice since inception and continues to manage its internal equity portfolio.
Prior to joining Leavitt Partners, Taylor worked for ZARS Pharma, a venture capital funded pharmaceutical company, engaged in corporate acquisitions, licensing and business development operations. While at ZARS, Taylor identified, negotiated and executed strategic corporate transactions on a global basis, including merger and acquisitions, national and international product licenses, IP and technology licenses and R&D alliances.
In other capacities, Taylor has worked with Epic Venture Capital, The Park City Center for Public Policy, SAIC, and Keystone Global Investment, LLC. Taylor received an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Business and graduated magna cum laude from Utah State University with degrees in finance, economics, and international business.
Brett Graham is a member of the LEP Investment Committee. He is also the chief strategy officer of Leavitt Partners where he is responsible for forging new relationships and developing the firm’s key external alliances.
Prior to joining Leavitt Partners, Brett led the operations and played a key role in the sale of a regional administrator of self-funded benefit plans to Meritain Health.
Following the transaction, he led the post-merger integration and was a member of Meritain’s strategy team. Before his time at Meritain Health, he worked as a vice president at UnitedHealth Group within the Ingenix business unit. Brett joined the business development and strategic planning team and was responsible for conducting analysis on acquisitions and strategic partnerships during a period of hyper-growth. Mr. Graham moved to operations and was the business leader for Ingenix’s pricing databases where he was responsible for working with large payers to aggregate and analyze claims data. In a previous role, Brett served as a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group where he worked with senior business leaders to develop growth strategies for Fortune 100 clients.
Brett holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Business School and a master’s of public administration and a bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Utah.
Charlie Johnson is a member of the LEP Investment Comittee. He is also a senior advisor at Leavitt Partners. He brings decades of financial and government experience to the firm and its clients.
Charlie left the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he served as acting secretary of the department. This followed his five years of service under the Bush Administration at HHS where he served as Assistant Secretary for Resources and Technology/Chief Financial Officer beginning in 2005. He served as acting secretary until June 2009 during the transition from the Bush to the Obama Administration. He previously served in an appointed position as chief financial officer of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Prior to his time in the federal government, Charlie was president of Huntsman Cancer Foundation and vice president of Huntsman LLC. He also served as a member of the Utah State Board of Regents, which oversees all public institutions of higher education in the state of Utah. He served as chair of the Board of Regents for more than four years. Mr. Johnson was vice chairman of the Board for Strategic Direction with the Garff-Warner Organization and was the chief of staff to the governor of the state of Utah from 1992 to 1997. Charlie also served as director of the 2000 re-election campaign for Governor Mike Leavitt.
Charlie graduated with honors from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He spent 31 years in the practice of public accounting, including service on the board of directors of KPMG and as chairman of its Merger Transition Committee.
Craig Omer is chief financial officer at Leavitt Equity Partners and Leavitt Partners. Craig is also a member of the LEP Investment Committee. He brings decades of financial experience to the firm and its clients.
Craig worked for 36 years as an auditing and accounting services professional, primarily at KPMG where he served as Managing Partner of the firm’s Salt Lake City office from 1997 to 2009. He has provided services to a variety of publicly traded and privately held companies, performing auditing, financial reporting, and Securities and Exchange Commission compliance services. Currently, he serves on the board of directors for Savage Companies and CRS Engineering.
His professional and civic activities include having served as Board Chairman of Junior Achievement of Utah, Board Treasurer of Habitat for Humanity, Board Treasurer of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, President of the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants, member of the Brigham Young University and Weber State University National School of Accountancy Advisory Boards, member of the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants, member of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce Board of Trustees and Executive Committee, and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants Governing Council.
Craig graduated from University of Utah with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Andrew Clark is a partner of Leavitt Equity Partners and is based in Salt Lake City. Andrew is responsible for leading diligence for LEP’s deal activity and transaction closings, and has managed the internal back-office operations for LEP. Andrew also currently serves as a board observer on several LEP portfolio companies.
Prior to joining Leavitt Partners, Andrew was a consultant for Investor Group Services LLC in Boston, Massachusetts, a former subsidiary of Ernst & Young in the Transaction Advisory Services group. There he provided M&A, transaction advisory, and due diligence services for a variety of investors, including corporate M&A teams, private equity funds, and their portfolio companies. Before his time at Investor Group Services, Andrew was a financial analyst at Zions Bancorporation, working directly under CEO Harris Simmons. In this role he provided analytical support to several areas of the bank, including corporate finance, human resources, consumer banking, and real estate.
Andrew earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard College, where he was a member of the winning 2001 Ivy League Championship football team.
Brooks Benson is a vice president of Leavitt Equity Partners. In this role, Brooks supports due diligence processes for prospective transactions, provides analysis for portfolio companies, and conducts deal research in health care and related markets.
Prior to joining Leavitt Equity Partners, Brooks helped lead the strategy consulting practice area of Leavitt Partners. In this role, he advised companies, private equity firms, and debt funds on health care investments and business strategy. Brooks also spent almost three years in the investment banking industry with Keystone Capital Markets (FMV Capital Markets). As an assistant vice president for mergers and acquisitions, he executed sophisticated M&A transactions and capital raises for middle-market enterprises and managed investor relations and go-to-market strategy and execution.
Brooks received a MBA from Brigham Young University, a juris doctorate degree with honors from the University of Utah, and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Utah State University.
Sierra Smith is a portfolio relations manager for Leavitt Equity Partners. In this role, Sierra utilizes the full resources of Leavitt Partners’ intelligence, proprietary data, and network to support LEP portfolio companies.
Sierra started her career as a management fellow with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). After the two-year program, she was hired as a manager and worked extensively with the CEO to monitor impact of U.S. health policy changes and network with key politicians. She most recently served as chief of staff to the president and CEO before attending Harvard Business School. As chief of staff she directed key enterprise-wide strategic initiatives, ensured business performance, and led and implemented a redesign of the CTCA board and committee structure in collaboration with an ad hoc board committee.
Sierra has a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Notre Dame and a MBA from Harvard Business School.
Preston is an associate for Leavitt Equity Partners. In this role, Preston performs diligence on prospective transactions and provides analysis for portfolio companies.
Prior to joining Leavitt Equity Partners, Preston was an intern with Berkeley Research Group where he worked with the firm’s litigation consulting practice, working on cases involving the calculation of intellectual property damages.
Preston graduated summa cum laude from Utah State University with degrees in accounting, economics, and finance. Preston was also selected as the Huntsman Scholar of the Year during his time at Utah State.
Ryan is an analyst for Leavitt Equity Partners. Ryan performs diligence on prospective transactions and providing analysis for portfolio companies.
Prior to joining Leavitt Equity Partners, Ryan was an investment banking analyst with Wells Fargo Securities where he advised clients on buy-side and sell-side M&A assignments, and facilitated and executed all aspects of the transaction life cycle including building comprehensive financial models and conducting due diligence. Before Wells Fargo Securities, Ryan was a winter analyst at HGGC where he worked with the firm’s investment team to analyze and identify new investment opportunities.
Ryan received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Brigham Young University.
Josh is the chief compliance officer of Leavitt Equity Partners and is primarily responsible for managing LEP’s compliance and operational controls.
Josh Sterner is also the controller for Leavitt Partners. Prior to joining Leavitt Partners, Josh was the assistant controller with Park City Group, Inc. where he managed all day-to- day accounting process and external relationships with various accounting consultants, auditors and bankers. Josh also led third-party implementation projects while working with consultants and other departments from project inception to successful completion.
Josh received his MBA from Westminster College and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Utah.
Suzanne Severe is an Executive Assistant based in Salt Lake City.
With a background in office management and customer service, Suzanne brings both professionalism and organization to Leavitt Partners. Suzanne also has a strong commitment to community service and has chaired fundraising events for several years. In 2009, she received the Jon M. Huntsman Sr. Award for Excellence in Education (HAEE) for the state of Utah as volunteer of the year.
Suzanne received an associate of arts and sciences in music and communications from Ricks College.