Business veteran Alex Dunn joins Larry H. Miller Company as firm continues new trajectory
Larry H. Miller Company continues its streak of growth and change, adding Alex Dunn as a new managing partner
The Larry H. Miller Company continues its trajectory of growth and recalibration following massive deals over the past few years that saw it selling off the Utah Jazz and Larry H. Miller automotive dealership chain.
On Thursday, the company announced it is adding business veteran Alex Dunn to its roster as a new managing partner.
Dunn is a BYU graduate who most recently started and served as the CEO of Executive Network Partnering Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company that closed a $1.2 billion deal on a petroleum exploration company in October 2022. Dunn has also held key roles as the president of Vivint SmartHome, was a co-founder of Vivint Solar, served as deputy chief of staff to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and was co-founder and CEO for business analytics software company Lavastorm.
Dunn’s name has also surfaced in Utah political circles.
Back in 2015, Spencer Zwick, the man responsible for raising some $1 billion for Romney’s 2012 presidential primary race, was encouraging Dunn to challenge Sen. Mike Lee who was preparing to run for his second term in office.
“I am not out actively trying to find people to run against Mike Lee. This is specific to Alex Dunn. I hope Alex will consider getting in the race,” the Boston-based Zwick said at the time, promising that if Dunn ran, he would help in the race.
Ultimately, Dunn chose to stay out of the fray and Lee defeated Democratic nominee Misty Snow to win his second term in the November 2016 election.
Dunn said he’s had a long running connection with the Miller family and Miller Company CEO Steve Starks, going back to before Dunn participated in negotiating a naming rights contract that would change the Jazz’s home venue from Delta Center to Vivint SmartHome Arena in 2015, which later morphed to Vivint Arena.
“At this point in my career I really care a lot about what I’m contributing,” Dunn said. “Looking at people like the Millers ... that have really helped create an environment that has allowed so many people and companies, including myself, to flourish. I want to be able to pass that on and being here allows me to join an organization and a family that is amazing at doing that.”
Thanks to the new capital generated by the Jazz and dealership sales, LHM is well positioned to continue its streak of strategic acquisitions and Dunn said he’s excited to help identify and invest in the “next great companies, the next great entrepreneurs and the next great management teams.”
“I have known and admired Alex for a number of years and am thrilled to welcome him to the Larry H. Miller Company,” Starks said in a press statement. “He is a proven, high-integrity leader who has a strong track record of investing in, building, and leading exceptional businesses. Alex’s experience and relationships complement and help elevate the organization.”
It’s been a very busy couple of years for the Larry H. Miller Company, formerly known as the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies.
Last January, Starks told the Deseret News that the previous year or so had been unprecedented for the Miller Company as the business was involved in over $5 billion in transactions as both a buyer and a seller.
Those deals included the sale of the Larry H. Miller auto dealerships, a portfolio of over 70 auto centers across the West that were all owned for over four decades by the household name; the sale of the Utah Jazz to Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith; the acquisition of Advanced Health Care Corp.; and the purchase of Daybreak, one of Salt Lake County’s largest master-planned communities in South Jordan.
One of the more intriguing acquisitions came just a few months ago when the Miller Company announced a deal to acquire Utah ‘dirty soda’ chain, Swig.
Beside an easy business convergence a la making Swig sodas available in the Miller Company-owned Megaplex Theaters, Starks said the company represented exactly the kind of business that fit with the other portfolio endeavors.
“We love Swig’s growth trajectory, best-in-class customer service, strong employee culture and commitment to delivering positive guest experiences,” Starks said in November when the deal was announced. “We are excited to welcome the Swig team to the LHM Company and are excited to help accelerate its national expansion.”
Dunn said the Miller Company has “a lot of dry powder” when it comes to its financial wherewithal to seek out and acquire additional business holdings, noting that while the company is agnostic when it comes to business types, it is always on the hunt for sound, founder-led and family owned companies.
And Dunn noted community engagement and solid corporate citizenship is always a major factor when it comes to what endeavors are worthy of a Miller Company investment.
“The Miller family and this company are committed to finding opportunities to provide for the community,” Dunn said. “It’s a really important aspect and driver of everything that is done here.
“For me, that’s really exciting. Life isn’t just about making money. It’s about relationships, and people and giving back.”