William L Walton, Host of Common Ground with Bill Walton is Chairman of Rappahannock Ventures LLC (private equity) and Rush River Entertainment (feature film production). Bill has an extensive background in finance, general management, private equity, strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions, entrepreneurship, commercial lending, private sector educational services and arts management. Bill was recently elected Vice President of the Council for National Policy and is a Senior Fellow for Discovery Institute’s Center on Wealth, Poverty and Morality.
Bill served as chairman of the board and CEO of Allied Capital Corporation (NYSE) from 1997 to 2009, and as chairman until 2010 when the company was successfully merged with Ares Capital Corporation. Under his leadership Allied Capital grew from $600 million in managed assets to $12 billion. Its private equity portfolio held a majority interest in over 40 companies with aggregate revenues of over $4 billion employing approximately 20,000 people.
While at Allied, Bill and his management team helped hundreds of owners, management teams and private equity sponsors grow and expand their businesses. Their track record earned Allied Capital its reputation as a pre-eminent partner in the private equity community.
During his tenure, Bill and his team shepherded the company through several economic cycles of expansion and recession, keeping the focus on effective capital allocation and adjusting investment strategies to meet changing market conditions. He preserved the distinctive, disciplined investment culture on which Allied was founded in 1958, executing a management and growth strategy based upon in-depth research, due diligence and the preservation of principal. Bill retired from the Company in 2010 when it was merged with Ares Capital.
Earlier in his career, Bill worked as a Managing Director of Butler Capital Corporation, a private equity firm; as the personal investment advisor to William S. Paley, founder of CBS; Senior Vice President in Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb’s Merger and Acquisition Group and Vice President of Continental Illinois Bank.
He also founded two education service providers: Language Odyssey which taught Spanish and French to JK through 6th grade elementary schools students in 12 states and SuccessLab which taught reading to inner city public school children in Chicago.
Mr. Walton has written about and has been quoted widely in the national media as an expert in private equity and the private sector education industry.
Bill is actively engaged in public policy and the arts, and currently serves on the board of directors of the Media Research Center and ForAmerica. He is a member the Collectors Committee and the Trustees’ Council of the National Gallery of Art and serves as an Advisor to the NGA Board of Trustees Finance Committee. He is also President of the Washington Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company.
He is the former President of the National Symphony Orchestra and Treasurer of the Wolf Trap Center for the Arts and Chairman of the Deans’ Council of the Kelley School of Business (Indiana University) and Assistant Treasurer of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He also served on the boards of theAmerican Enterprise Institute, Financial Services Roundtable, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, DC Federal City Council, National Venture Capital Association, and the DC National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
Bill attended inner-city schools in Indianapolis. After serving in the U.S. Army as a Specialist at the Pentagon, he completed his B.S. from Indiana University and his MBA from Indiana’s Kelley School of Business, where he worked his way through school as an accounting instructor. Bill and his wife, Sarah, have two grown children. Sarah is an Artist. Daughter Emily is married and living in Chicago as a designer. Their son, Jonathan is married and is serving with the U.S. Army Special Forces. Bill is a life member of MENSA and the NRA.