History of the Firm
Atlanta Equity, a private equity firm with $109 million in committed capital, was founded in 2007 by Pete Correll, Gerry Benjamin and David Crosland, who share a common passion for the growth and development of entrepreneurial businesses.
Pete Correll has enjoyed an extraordinary 40-year business career, culminating with the $23 billion sale of Georgia-Pacific Corporation (“G-P”) to Koch Industries, Inc. in 2006. As Chairman and CEO for 13 years, Pete led a decentralized organization at G-P, developing six future Fortune 200 CEOs. He has also been one of the most active business executives in the local Atlanta community, participating as a board member, trustee or advisor for numerous civic, philanthropic and educational organizations. Having adopted Atlanta as his home town, it was natural for Pete to seek out opportunities to build management teams with a firm based in Atlanta and focused on the Southeast.
That opportunity came when Pete was introduced to Gerry Benjamin by his G-P investment bankers. Gerry has spent his entire 30-year business career in Atlanta, initially co-founding a 60-person CPA firm, followed by a highly successful career as an investment banker, restructuring advisor and principal investor, initiating and consummating over five billion dollars of corporate finance transactions. Mr. Benjamin previously served as a Managing Director with Navigant Capital Advisors, the Corporate Finance practice group of Navigant Consulting, where he directed the activities of Navigant's Investment Banking Practice. As Gerry collaborated on potential acquisitions with Pete, he realized that Pete’s skills would be better leveraged in a private equity firm where he could build multiple management teams and businesses, rather than investing in a single business.
This led Gerry to introduce Pete to David Crosland in 2006. Mr. Benjamin had developed a strong working relationship with David, who was a founding partner of Arcapita Inc., one of the largest private equity firms in the Southeast. David left Arcapita in 2006 to start a firm focused on smaller transactions with an emphasis on partnering with founding entrepreneurs. Having worked closely with both David and Pete on multiple, but unrelated matters, Gerry perceived a unique compatibility among the founders, who have different skill sets, but absolute consistency in approach, style and values. Together, the founders shared a common vision to create a preeminent middle market private equity firm. The outgrowth of this vision is Atlanta Equity.