A true trailblazer in the financial services industry, Herbert P. Wilkins Sr. embodied the idea of diversity while making savvy investment decisions that created value and returns for his partners.
A Boston native, Wilkins received a bachelor’s degree from Boston University in 1965 and graduated from the Harvard School of Business in 1970. Wilkins operated his own consulting company, Wilkins & Company, from 1975 to 1977, before taking over as president of Syndicated Communications in Washington, D.C. He served in that capacity through 1989 before taking posts as managing general partner of Syncom Capital and president of Syncom Management Company.
Syncom Venture Partners was founded in the 1970s with a mission to diversify media ownership in the United States. Over the next few decades, the investment team put capital to work in overlooked diverse businesses, working closely with each company’s management to ensure success. Syncom’s investments included Radio One, a black-owned company that was the fastest-growing radio broadcasting company in 2000 and which paid tremendous dividends when its stock went public in 1999. Other significant investments included BET Holdings, the parent company of Black Entertainment Television.
Another significant deal was Syncom’s acquisition of Motorola subsidiary Iridium LLC for roughly $25 million (after Motorola had invested billions in the company). A series of orbiting satellites, Iridium was later sold for $436 million, with Syncom retaining an interest in its successor, which went public, trading on the NASDAQ. The transaction illustrated the vision, audacity and discipline of Wilkins and the Syncom team to explore and conquer uncharted business frontiers.
Sadly, Mr. Wilkins passed away in 2013, but he left a legacy that exemplifies the talent within diverse communities that will be remembered for years to come.