Our Founder, Charles H. Dyson
Charles H. Dyson founded The Dyson Corporation, a pioneering leveraged buyout firm today known as The Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation (DKM), in 1954, following what was an already impressive resume in business and public service.
Charlie, as he was known to friends and associates, was born in 1909 to immigrant parents – his father from England, his mother from Ireland – and grew up in a modest home in Englewood, NJ. He began work as an accountant directly out of high school, while attending Pace Institute (now Pace University) at night. He was hired by Price Waterhouse & Company in 1932 where he remained until joining the Roosevelt administration.
There he developed the organizational underpinnings of Lend-Lease, the materiel program that proved critical to the triumph of the Allied Forces in World War II. Later as an officer after the U.S. entered the war, Charlie was assigned to assist Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. and Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson at Bretton Woods, the international conference that created the modern global monetary and financial system. For his wartime service he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the U.S. Army and also named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Charlie served in senior executive positions at the Textron Corporation and also the Burlington Mills Corporation, and then in 1954 used $8,000 of his own money and a $4 million bank loan to purchase Hubbard and Company. This served both to start The Dyson Corporation and to pioneer the leveraged buyout.
By the time Charlie’s wartime colleague and friend Frank Kissner became his partner in 1957, the firm was already experiencing robust growth, which continued after John Moran joined as a third partner in 1967. DKM eventually became one of the largest private corporations in the United States and an international leader in leveraged buyouts.
Charlie and his wife Margaret were strong advocates of the importance of giving back and in 1957 created the Dyson Foundation. Over the past six decades, the family-directed foundation has provided support for educational, health and general charitable causes. Current giving is $16-18 million annually.
Upon Charlie’s retirement from active participation in the business in 1992, his son Robert R. Dyson took up the reins of DKM and currently serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Dyson had a life-long involvement with his alma mater, Pace University, where he served on the Board of Trustees for 15 years, five of them as chairman. Dyson also served for a time on the board of Common Cause, a public affairs organization. Charlie Dyson died in 1997.
The College of Arts and Sciences at Pace and the School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University were both named in Dyson’s honor. Further, both Charlie and Margaret are memorialized at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, where the Margaret M. and Charles H. Dyson Center serves as home to the School of Management and the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences.