Here’s the Deal on Bob Kosian
Favorite time of the day: 10:30 a.m. when Kosian goes to his gym, Longevity Fitness on Rutledge Avenue. He leaves his phone at home and focuses on his workout.
Best business book: “Bitcoin Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich
Productivity hack: Don’t spend too much time checking your phone and checking your email. Stay focused on the task at hand.
Community engagement: Former president of Penn Club of South Carolina; College of Charleston’s Language Cultures and World Affairs Advisory Board; founding member of the CDA
Member Profile: Bob Kosian, The Capital Solutions Group
From his downtown Charleston condo, Bob Kosian is helping private equity firms purchase companies they can develop, expand and then likely sell a few years down the road. The Capital Solutions Group — where Kosian is co-founder and managing director — is a full service debt advisory firm, working with private equity clients on deals from start to finish.
Since the company’s founding in 2009, they have advised on $3 billion in transactions, with the bulk of that business taking place east of the Mississippi River.
The company steps in to write a pitch deck and create five-year financial projections. They solicit term sheets from financial institutions and then select the bank or non-bank financial institution that will fund the deal. Kosian and his team even coordinate site visits so the new lenders can meet the management team and tour the facility.
“We take it all the way to the closing,” Kosian said.
Some clients are more hands on, but most prefer to leave the spreadsheets and financial research to The Capital Solutions Group. “It’s not usually worth their time to do debt financing,” Kosian said. “Their manpower is better spent on strategy and how to improve the company they are buying.”
Kosian has been playing the numbers game since earning an undergraduate economics degree from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduation, Kosian worked in the controller’s office at the university, helping track grants and contracts. All of that work was done by hand back then, Kosian said.
Taking advantage of free tuition for university employees, Kosian earned his MBA and moved on to New York City. He worked for Citibank on Park Avenue for 20 years. Part of the company’s energy group, Kosian worked with some of the country’s biggest utility companies. One deal involved working on a nuclear power plant project and managing a one hundred bank syndicate. This project had him on the road to New Orleans every six weeks for five years and required a difficult conversation with a company chairman who ultimately retired.
“That was my first taste of the rough and tumble business world,” Kosian said.
And, yet, Kosian stuck with business and finance. After leaving Citibank, he spent five years working in London for the Head Sports Group where he helped lead its IPO. After 9-11, when Kosian and his family prepared to move back to the United States, they decided to forego New York City and retreat to Kiawah Island where they owned a home and often vacationed.
After some time on Kiawah, they bought a condo in Charleston where Kosian and his wife still live. Their grown daughter works for KPMG International and their son and his wife live in Costa Rica.
Kosian was instrumental in the creation of Charleston Deal Alliance and the effort to raise awareness about Charleston as a place for closing deals
“The CDA couldn’t have happened five years ago. There was no critical mass here,” said Kosian, a founding board member. “What really put Charleston on the map was Boeing, Volvo and Mercedes locating here. Those were the catalyst. It made Charleston a big enough place for people in tech and finance to realize there’s enough business activity that they could relocate here.”