David Grain

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Grain Management

David Grain is the CEO of Grain Management, the sector-focused private equity firm he founded. Established in 2006 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., Grain Management invests globally in the communications industry. The firm serves some of the nation’s largest institutional investors and has consistently generated top-quartile returns through a data-driven investment process and innovative financial structures that have transformed the communications industry, including the first asset-backed securitizations of cellular communication towers and radio frequency spectrum licenses.

From 2002 to 2005, Grain led Pinnacle Towers (later renamed Global Signal) from bankruptcy to a successful IPO, transforming it into one of the largest independent wireless communication tower companies in the world. As president of Global Signal, Grain grew the organization’s footprint to a total of 13,000 sites covering all 50 states, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In 2006, GSL was sold to Crown Castle International for $5.7 billion. This transaction delivered a capital return of more than 15 times to private equity investors and more than three and a half times to IPO investors.

Prior to joining Global Signal, Grain served as senior vice president of AT&T Broadband’s New England region and was an executive director in the High Yield Finance Department at Morgan Stanley in New York, where he focused primarily on global telecommunications, media, and technology companies. Grain was appointed to the board of directors of Southern Company in 2012, where he is chair of the Finance Committee and serves on the Compensation Committee. He became a director of New Fortress Energy in 2019 and of Dell Technologies in 2021. Grain is a trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the advisory council of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and a member of the board of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

As an active participant in civic affairs, Grain received a presidential appointment to the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, where he chaired the Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience National R&D Plan. In September 2009, Florida’s governor appointed Grain to the State Board of Administration’s Investment Advisory Council, where he served as chairman. While in New England, Grain was named by the treasurer of Massachusetts to the state’s Pension Reserves Investment Management Board, overseeing the state’s employee pension fund, and he subsequently chaired the Investment Committee. He is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Business Executives for National Security and was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Grain earned his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, where he serves on the board of advisors. He also served for eight years as a trustee of College of the Holy Cross, where he received his B.A. Grain is an active philanthropist, particularly in the areas of education, social justice, and the arts. He shares two children, Chelsea and David Jr., with his wife of 29 years, Lisa.