Founder & Managing Principal
John Mazzarino is founder and Managing Principal of Cherokee. Cherokee has raised $2.2 billion in five institutional private equity funds, and invested this capital in the acquisition, cleanup, development, and sale of more than 550 properties in the US, Canada and Europe. John heads up Cherokee’s Management Committee and its Investment Committee, which together oversee all Cherokee activities.
Prior to forming Cherokee, John worked at Bain & Company and was President of two private equity-funded businesses. He began investing personal capital in corporate transactions in the late 1980s and has formed, invested in or acquired with others more than 100 businesses, primarily in the sustainability arena. These businesses include: Cherokee Environmental Risk Management (environmental insurance), Brownfield Revitalization (new markets tax credits for brownfield redevelopment), Cherokee Solar (landfill solar farms), Eco-Site (urban brownfield cell towers), PGSI (supply-side smart grid), and Industrial Heat (fusion energy). John is a limited partner in a number of venture capital and private equity funds and is co-founder of the Cherokee-McDonough Challenge, a NC-based business incubator.
John has served on corporate and non-profit boards and currently is on the Board of Directors of Fidus Investment Corporation, Industrial Heat, Hometown America (where he was Chairman for three years), aPersona, Mi-Co, 510 Nano, Brownfield Revitalization, and United Protective Technologies. He is also a member of the Board of Advisors of the MIT Sloan School of Management, the MIT Sloan Finance Group, the MIT Sustainability Initiative, and Cherokee Gives Back, Cherokee’s charitable foundation. Reflecting his interest in sustainability strategy and practice, John personally funds interdisciplinary research at the MIT Sustainability Initiative.
John received a BA in Mathematics from Colgate University where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After Colgate he studied for two years in the PhD program in Operations Research at MIT, where he was a teaching assistant and lecturer for graduate courses in optimization and statistics. He later received an MS in Management from MIT’s Sloan School of Management. His thesis on search theory became the basis for a peer-reviewed article in the SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics.