Charles MerrittProfessor of the Practice and Social Entrepreneur in Residence, Department of Economics at UNC-CH
Charles has spent most of his professional career in and around private equity investing, beginning his career as an M&A analyst advising on the sale of private businesses, transitioning to direct investing in small buyouts and ultimately co-founding and selling a private equity fund of funds business. He began his career with Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co., the premier boutique M&A advisory firm serving the middle market. After business school, Charles served as an Associate with NationsBank Capital Investors (subsequently Bank of America Capital Investors and recently spun off as Ridgemont Equity Partners), an investor in middle-market buyouts.
He began his career as a private fund investor as the first Director of Private Investments at the UNC – CH Investment Office, where he helped build the private investment portfolio significantly. Charles then became the Director of Private Investments at The Duke Endowment (the Duke family foundation), where he managed a portfolio of over $800 million in private alternative investments. In 2003, Charles co-founded Parish Capital Advisors, a private equity fund of funds focused on small and niche private equity managers, and helped grow the business to $2.2 billion in assets under management before it was sold to the StepStone Group in 2012.
Charles remains an Advisor to StepStone, and also consults to private equity general and limited partners via CEM Advisors, LLC. He is currently Professor of the Practice and Social Entrepreneur in Residence in the Department of Economics at UNC-CH, teaching in the Minor in Entrepreneurship as well as serving as an instructor at Kenan-Flagler Business School. Charles received a BA in Economics from UNC-CH where was a Morehead Scholar, graduating with Highest Honors and Distinction and received the Honors Prize in Economics. Charles received his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College. He is a member of the Working Group for the Minor in Entrepreneurship at UNC–CH and serves on the Board of Advisors for the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. He is a Trustee of the Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill, where he chairs the Building and Land Committee and serves on the Finance Committee.