Private-Equity Mogul Jim Dunning: ‘Diminutive,’ ‘Ball-Achingly Indulgent’

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Over at Reuters' HedgeWorld blog, former Trader Monthly editor Rich Blake casually eviscerates his former boss Randall Lane's new book, The Zeroes, the story of Doubldown Media, which crashed and burned in February 2009. While Blake is humorously critical of Lane — "He took running lean to a level not seen since Karen Carpenter first recorded 'We’ve Only Just Begun'" — he saves his most awesomely scathing prose for the company's owner, onetime Ziff-Davis CEO and private-equity honcho Jim Dunning.

Without further ado:


Dunning, the diminutive private equity mogul who after becoming involved as owner (buying much of Magnus Greaves’ stake) would come by the office once every few weeks to blow smoke up all of our asses. Patronizing to an almost Monty Python-like point of absurdity, Dunning was convinced that he was building a company that would one day be valued at $1 billion dollars or more, hence the ill-fated launch — with no staff — of Dealmaker, billed as Trader Monthly for bankers, and the doomed acquisition of Private Air, and the royal debacle that was the launch of a single doomed issue of the Players Club with top-shelf collaborator Lenny Dykstra.

To me, Dunning was like G.E. Smith, the showy, blues-guitar-styling musical director of Saturday Night Live. For those who recall watching SNL in the ’90s, Smith would come on before and after commercials, simply to fill some space, busting out some seemingly amazing but in actuality ballachingly indulgent solo, commanding respect without it ever being clear why exactly he should.

Related: Mogul on the Verge [NYM]