Buyout Firm Ditches J.W. Childs Name After Founder’s Prostitution Charges

John W. Childs has no stake in Prospect Hill, according to a spokesman for the rebranded firm.

Illustration by II

Illustration by II

The private equity firm founded by John W. Childs wants nothing more to do with the name.

A month after Childs was charged with soliciting prostitution in Florida, J.W. Childs Associates has announced that it’s now named Prospect Hill Growth Partners. The investment staff remains and will keep managing the active investment funds established by J.W. Childs Associates, according to a March 25 statement from the Waltham, Massachusetts-based firm.

Prospect Hill is distancing itself from Childs, who retired as chairman last month after being swept into a broad investigation into prostitution at massage parlors in Florida.

“He has no stake in Prospect Hill,” said Philippe Schenk, a spokesman for the firm, in a phone interview Tuesday. He said Childs is not at all involved in the management of the buyout firm, which he co-founded in 1995. Before retiring, Childs hadn’t led a deal in about five years, according to Schenk.

Prospect Hill will continue to be led by managing partner Adam Suttin and partners David Fiorentino, Jeff Teschke, and Bill Watts, according to the statement. The firm oversees around $850 million of assets, Schenk said, adding that the response from its investors about the rebranding has yet to be fully gauged.

“I believe the speed with which we have resolved this situation has certainly been a positive,” said Schenk. He declined to comment on allegations that Childs solicited prostitution.

[II Deep Dive: J.W. Childs Founder Is ‘Muzzled’ After Prostitution Ring Charges]

Traces of Childs at the rebranded firm are now minimal, according to Schenk. He is currently a general partner in the firm’s older funds, he said, meaning Childs still has a personal investment in private equity pools established earlier by his eponymous firm.

Childs did not respond to an email seeking comment about the rebranding of J.W. Childs Associates following the prostitution charges in Florida. In an email to Institutional Investor last month, he said that he was “muzzled” by his lawyer.

Prospect Hill staff now have email addresses reflecting the new name of the firm.

“We have deep expertise in consumer and healthcare investing and will continue to work with founders, entrepreneurs and management teams to accelerate growth and provide guidance in navigating the challenges of expansion strategies,” Suttin said in the firm’s statement on the rebranding.

(This story was corrected on March 29 to say Childs had not led a deal in about five years. In an earlier version of the story, Schenk misstated the number of years since Childs had led a deal.)