John Phelan

Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer at MSD Partners

John Phelan is the Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of MSD Partners, L.P. He is also the Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of MSD Capital, L.P. Prior to forming MSD Capital, he was a Principal for seven years at ESL Partners, a Greenwich, Connecticut-based investment firm. At ESL, John was responsible for ESL's Special Situation and Distressed Investments and helped grow the firm from $50 million to over $2 billion in assets under management. Prior to ESL, John was a Vice President in the Equity Group and was in charge of Acquisitions (Western Region) for the Zell-Merrill Lynch Real Estate Opportunity Funds. He began his career at Goldman, Sachs & Co., where he worked as an Analyst in the Investment Banking Division. John received his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and cum laude with distinction from Southern Methodist University with a B.A. in Economics and Political Science. John also holds a General Course degree with an emphasis in Economics and International Relations from The London School of Economics. John is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Whitney Museum of Art, Aspen Art Museum (Chairman), Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Chairman of the Investment Committee), Spirit of America and Third Option Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Dean's Advisors for the Harvard Business School, the Investment Committee for the SMU Endowment and the North American Advisory Board for the London School of Economics. John and his wife Amy have sponsored numerous fellowships and scholarships at Harvard Business School, London School of Economics and Southern Methodist University and in 2008 permanently endowed free admission to the Aspen Art Museum.


  • Co-Founder & Chief Investment Officer

    Current role


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