Staples founder Thomas Stemberg will address the Republican National Convention on Thursday night in a speech designed to show the positive side of Bain Capital, the company Mitt Romney created which has come under attack over the course of the 2012 campaign.
Stemberg is one of the most wealthy Bostonians, with an estimated net worth of $202 million. He is an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and executive. He founded Staples Inc. with Leo Kahn in 1986 in response to frustration with small retailers that provided critical supplies. He is currently a managing general partner at Highland Capital Partners in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Stemberg will try to humanize Bain Capital and present the company as a successful business which has helped created jobs for Americans.
Here are some excerpts from Stemberg's speech:
On Bain Capital and Staples: "The truth is: Mitt was not a typical investor. He was a true partner. Where some saw an unproven new business, he saw a store that could save people money. He recognized that efficiency creates consumer value. He never looked at Staples as merely a financial investment. He saw the engine of prosperity it would become. Today Staples employs nearly 90,000 people. It has over 2000 stores. Over 50 distribution centers. It is part of a competitive industry that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses get started on their own. For me, as a founder, it was the realization of a dream. The night before we opened the first store, I asked our people to do back-to-back all-nighters. That's when I got a call from Mitt. He wanted to come over and talk with the team, spend time with them. He told me in very clear terms: this business is all about the people."
On Obama: "But this Obama-Biden campaign ... they just don't get it. They will tell you that private equity is focused only on the short-term. Tell that to the founders of Bright Horizons Day Care, a company that has transformed corporate day care. Most people didn't give the business a chance. It went for five straight years without making a profit - but Mitt and Bain Capital stood by them. Mitt and Bain Capital believed in the vision. They understood how important it was for women to join the workforce and have onsite care for their children. It was an overdue revolution in the American workplace. Today the company employs over 19,000 people."