W.B. ‘Bud’ Kirchner
Bud is a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist and sponsor of impact activities. He has over 50 years of operational, transactional and asset management experience as well as international recognition for his expertise in multifaceted enterprise solutions. Four decades ago, Bud designed an unprecedented series of paradigms that build on synergies related to creating value and promoting…
Founder and CEO
Bud is a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist and sponsor of impact activities. He has over 50 years of operational, transactional and asset management experience as well as international recognition for his expertise in multifaceted enterprise solutions. Four decades ago, Bud designed an unprecedented series of paradigms that build on synergies related to creating value and promoting values across three complementary perspectives – commercial, impact and philanthropic.
These paradigms are the backbone of Kirchner Group which he founded in 1985 based on two fundamental premises which are often quoted: every business can be improved and every business should improve the world. The firm became an ethics-based corporate ecosystem, committed to the integration of ‘earning and returning’.
As part of the ‘earn’ activities Kirchner leads a traditional boutique merchant bank that provides advisory and operational services, enterprise development and transactional support to companies, investors and institutions through a proprietary approach that dovetails domain and process expertise. The firm also manages assets for a broad variety of organizations ranging from family offices to some of the world’s largest insurance companies, commercial banks and institutional investors.
Bud is the designer and architect of several proprietary models including ‘Crystallizing Value in Intellectual Property’, ‘Successor GP’, ‘Academic Enterprise Development’, and the ‘Kirchner Impact Model’ as well as others related to enhancing the value in individual companies and portfolios.
A long-time professional relationship noted “I am always inspired in hearing about all the incredibly impactful work you are doing in so many different verticals of business and society.”
Bud has started and successfully exited companies in industries as diverse as biotechnology, financial services, agribusiness, aviation and consulting, and has conducted corporate transactions in over 25 countries. He has also been a principal or advisor in over 400 private capital ventures. The media has gone so far as to say Bud has the “golden touch” and some have called him “Mr. Fix It”.
According to one former colleague “Bud feels a very strong sense of responsibility to those with whom he works with and for, so much so that he’s willing to push himself unusually hard to deliver on what he promises.”
In 1994, Bud was named Ernst & Young, et. al, Entrepreneur of the Year in recognition of the turnaround of a bankrupt company to a profitable industry leader during a period when over fifty direct competitors failed. Under Bud’s management, the company received numerous distinctions including ranking fourth overall in a nationwide survey of all industries for profit gain over a five-year period. The company was also recognized as ranking in the “top 20 wealth creation companies” in a survey of all Canadian public companies.
The following year Bud was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Quality Institute of Canada in recognition of transforming a domestic business into an internationally-competitive company. This included a citation for “entrepreneurial vision, leadership, commitment and innovation.” Bud is the only individual awarded both of these senior awards for entrepreneurship.
One prominent business leader stated “Companies go through periods of crisis, rationalization, turnaround, growth and liquidity. I have seen Bud operate at the highest possible level in each of these environments.”
As part of the ‘return’ activities Bud founded the Kirchner Impact Foundation (KIF) to serve as the ‘impact arm’ of Kirchner Group. Through founding the Impact Foundation Bud also developed a proprietary model for ‘returning’ that leverages each dollar. The Kirchner Impact Model includes three integrated components of contribution: ‘head’ (sharing decades of creating solutions and building enterprises), ‘hip’ (providing essential financial resources), and ‘heart’ (unwavering commitment to successful execution, supported by passion and desire to make a difference).
KIF aims to harness the positive power of enterprise to make a difference in addressing some of the most important issues in the world today. KIF defines ‘impact activities’ as those that generate a measurable social and/or environmental benefit and focuses on activities that primarily span four sectors; Agriculture/Food, Health/Life Science, Energy/Resources and Education.
Currently the Foundation activities primarily sponsored by Bud include, the widely recognized Kirchner Food Fellowship program which provides capital and unprecedented hands-on training in deployment of capital for university students looking to address food security through impact investment. To date the program has been integral in the seed funding of early-stage agriculture and food companies such as: Kuli Kuli, Green Zebra Grocery, Tomato Jos, Solena Ag and Siembro.
The Foundation activities also include the Kirchner Investment Academy, an intensive training program that demystifies the investment process for entrepreneurs and introduces eager, yet perhaps inexperienced, “angel” investors to the art of deploying disciplined capital. As an extension of Fellowship program and Investment Academy in the Foundation launched the Kirchner-Donovan Impact Initiative (KDII) in 2021. KDII will assist in training the next generation of Central American resource allocators to deploy disciplined capital, and connecting impact-driven organizations to the resources that best fit their needs, while contributing to the economic growth of the region using a holistic approach to strengthening the local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
In addition, KIF co-founded Interaction Advisory Group a company that provides customized special needs awareness training for first responders, other public service officials, educators and private sector workers. It also founded a unique resource devoted to integrating and promoting business and relevant principles from neuroscience and psychology including related cognitive sciences which is branded as the Business Brain Model. This resource also includes extensive writings by Bud on values and ethics in business.
Bud is also active in a variety of philanthropic activities and is the co-founder of the Christopher Douglas Hidden Angel Foundation (CDHAF), a charitable organization devoted to enriching the lives of individuals with cognitive, emotional, and/or physical impairments through programs centered on the use of multi-sensory environments.
To date the foundation’s multi-sensory environments have touched the lives of over 10,000 individuals and their families across North America. Typically, one parent said “Bud has generously made himself personally available to answer questions with practical advice as I apply these lessons to my son’s development. I consider what Bud has done already in this regard for me and my family a major step forward and one that we likely would not have discovered we could take had it not been for him.” Countless other people have benefited from CDHAF’s education and research activities.
Currently, Bud also provides direct advisory services to select companies and organizations that are values driven and innovative in nature.
For more details on Bud’s career watch his 2012 PBS Interview. This interview was subsequently selected by the viewers and editorial team as the ‘interview of the year’ and was re-introduced here.
The Vice President of Finance for Standard Life comments on Bud Kirchner, his values, approach, and ethical standards.