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Amelio lands on his feet

Ousted Apple chief executive Gilbert Amelio joins a private equity investment firm as a partner specializing in high-tech leveraged buyouts.

Gilbert Amelio, former chief executive of Apple (AAPL), has joined a private equity investment firm as a partner specializing in high-tech leveraged buyouts.

Amelio this week joined the San Francisco-based Parkside Group, a firm that concentrates on mid-market buyouts of $100 million to $200 million, said Charles A. Frank, one of Parkside's three partners.

Amelio, who also will serve on Parkside's board, will focus on management-friendly buyouts in technology. He will be exempted from Parkside's policy that requires a controlling stake in any buyout company and investments only in companies that already have generated revenues. The former Apple CEO will be given the leeway to strike deals with companies that are within a year of generating revenues, Frank said.

"This is a natural step in my career, having started as a research scientist at Bell Laboratories, inventing technology that has wide application in today's high-technology industry, and having been the CEO of two big companies," Amelio said in a statement. "I would like to utilize that experience with a multiplicity of companies in different industries."

While most leveraged buyout firms concentrate mainly on shareholder value and the financial engineering of a deal, Parkside prides itself on considering a company's customers and employees, Frank said, noting that Amelio shared the firm's philosophical vision.

Parkside began talking to Amelio about joining its operations after he was ousted from Apple. Amelio has known Frank and Parkside founder Barry Schneider for several years through a group called the Young Presidents' Organization.

"Gil was interested in parlaying his experience across a number of companies," Frank said, noting that Amelio indicated he has no current interest in serving as a corporate CEO again.

During his tenure at Apple, Amelio increasingly was under fire as the troubled computer maker continued to face growing losses, shrinking market share, and declining revenues on his watch. Last July, Amelio was ousted by Apple's board of directors as his efforts to turn the company around failed and executives lost confidence in his abilities.

Parkside, founded last April, plans to capitalize on the past experience of its partners in advising companies and serving on their boards. The firm has not closed any buyout deals to date, but is working on several deals currently in the "due diligence" stage, during which companies review their operations and finances, Frank said.