Founder and Executive Chairman
BA in Economics from Brown University and MBA from Harvard Business School
Jonathan Nelson founded Providence Equity Partners in 1989, a pioneering sector-focused private equity firm that primarily focuses on media, communications, education and technology investments. He has led the firm for 32 years as its Chief Executive Officer. Beginning in 2021, he became Executive Chairman. Despite Providence’s often high-profile media holdings, Mr. Nelson usually keeps a low profile—leading the New York Times to name him the “stealth mogul”.
Providence currently manages approximately $44 billion in aggregate capital commitments. In 2019, the firm closed its eighth buyout fund with more than $6 billion in commitments. The firm has offices in Providence, New York and London. Recent investments by the firm include Ambassador Theatre Group, Asurion, DoubleVerify, MásMóvil, OUTFRONT Media, TAIT, Topgolf and Superstruct Entertainment. Previous Providence portfolio companies include AutoTrader, eircom plc, EdgeConneX, Hulu, iQiyi, Ironman, Kabel Deutschland, Learfield Communications, Major League Soccer, OEConnection, Study Group, Warner Music Group, Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (“YES”), and ZeniMax Media. For a full list of Providence’s portfolio companies, see:
Mr. Nelson has served on the board of directors for many of Providence’s portfolio companies. These include Bresnan Communications, eircom plc, Hulu, Language Line, MetroNet (now AT&T Canada), MLS Media, The Chernin Group, Univision Communications, VoiceStream Wireless (now T-Mobile US), Warner Music Group, Western Wireless Corporation (now AT&T Corp.) and YES.
Mr. Nelson is a Fellow and Corporation member of Brown University and founder of the University’s Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship. He is a trustee of The Rockefeller University and the Institute for Advanced Study and a member of the Board of Dean's Advisors at Harvard Business School. Mr. Nelson also serves on the board of the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals.