Sixth Street Agriculture exec joins sports-focused PE firm

Chad Hutchinson characterized his decision to depart for a role at Arctos Sports Partners as a ‘life and job change’ allowing him to draw on his experience in professional sports.

Chad Hutchinson, the executive leading former TPG affiliate Sixth Street Agriculture, has left the firm and joined professional sports-focused PE firm Arctos Sports Partners.

Arctos announced Friday the firm has added Hutchinson as a partner on its investment and management teams in a role designed to draw on his experience in investing and playing professional sports.

“Chad is a unicorn – one of only seven people on the planet to play in both the NFL and the MLB. I am guessing of those seven, he is the only one who also went on to build an incredible track record in private equity,” Arctos co-founder and managing partner David “Doc” O’Connor said in a statement.

“He brings with him the experience and rigor of helping build and grow one of the private equity industry’s leading platforms,” added Arctos co-founder and managing partner Ian Charles.

Sixth Street declined to comment.

“After an incredible seven years at Sixth Street in which I have learned so much, I have decided to make a life and a job change,” Hutchinson said in a LinkedIn post last week. “I am so grateful for the friendships, opportunities and learnings that Sixth Street gave me. I am also very proud of the business I helped build.”

According to his profile, Hutchinson joined Sixth Street in 2014 – when it operated as credit fund within TPG Holdings before formally separating from TPG in mid-2020 – and left the firm earlier this month. The profile shows he previously spent five years as managing partner of Redwood City, California-headquartered WakeStorm Capital and held positions at Trammel Crow, Jones Lang Lasalle and SC Investment Consultants since ending his professional sports career in 2005.

In early 2020, Sixth Street raised at least $350 million for a vehicle called TSSP Agricultural Partners, pursuing a strategy focused on citrus and water-focused dislocation and large-scale organics, according to Agri Investor sources.

“At Sixth Street, Mr Hutchinson built the agriculture business from an idea to a dedicated platform with its own dedicated fund,” said Hutchinson’s biography on the Arctos website. “Mr Hutchinson was responsible for sourcing, underwriting and execution of other opportunistic investments in specialty finance, growth equity and structured solutions.”

Among Sixth Street’s agricultural investments is Gunsmoke Farms, a 34,000-acre property located in South Dakota acquired by TPG in 2017. US food company General Mills announced an agreement in March 2018 to support the property’s conversion to organic wheat and other crops. Sources told Agri Investor in March 2020 that Sixth Street had partnered with SLM Partners to manage the property.

Gunsmoke Farms achieved USDA organic certification last year and will be used to produce pasta for Annie’s brand organic mac and cheese according to an October 2020 Fast Company interview. The article described challenges the property faced last year as including heavy rainfall, cover crops that ran rampant over parts of the farm and delays in organic certifications caused by covid-19.

“You have to have a long-term perspective and great partners, because you’re going to have years when it doesn’t go well,” Hutchinson said.

Arctos, which did not respond to messages seeking comment, has raised $2.9 billion for its first fund, ranking among the largest debut vehicles in history, according to Agri Investor affiliate Private Equity International. The vehicle’s strategy focuses on investments of between $20 million and $400 million into passive minority stakes in professional sports franchises and growth capital for franchise owners and governors, according to PEI.