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Christopher Thorne

Lecturer on Law


Christopher Thorne
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Chris Thorne is an authority on Private Equity Finance, Business Law, Systems-thinking, and Negotiation. He is an experienced global CEO who has worked in leadership roles in a number of industries. Chris currently serves as executive chairman and CEO of Broadline Capital, the global alternative investment firm. Formed 18 years ago, Broadline primarily focuses on growth capital, late-stage companies, and impact investments. 

Chris has applied his approach to negotiation and collaborative problem-solving to a remarkable range of business deals, mergers and acquisitions, and investments involving both public and private corporations – including some of the most creative deals in the history of their category. Chris was inducted into the Ohio Supreme Court State Bar in 1995, after passing the Bar on the first attempt, and he has been recognized with the Highest Possible Attorney Rating (10.0) for multiple consecutive years in a global attorney ratings and review system.  

Previously, Chris served leadership roles at McKinsey & Company, the global strategic consultancy, where he managed numerous high-impact strategic and operational engagements for Fortune 500 companies. After excelling there, he left the firm to pursue his entrepreneurial vision and launched his first high-tech company, which became a category leader. As its founder, chairman and CEO, Chris pioneered one of the world’s first profitable SaaS business models while creating fundamental advances in inter-enterprise technologies. His company’s SaaS solutions generated efficiency gains for food manufacturers, distributors and retailers by converting paper-based processes into paperless digital transactions across the entire supply chain. After scaling the company and initiating a roll-up, he served as president of the combined company. Subsequently, the resulting company successfully sold to Roper Technologies (NYSE: ROP) for more than half a billion dollars. After achieving a quality exit for himself and his investors, Chris formed Broadline Capital – taking the skills honed at McKinsey and during his experience as a high-tech CEO, and applying them toward supporting innovative, purpose-driven companies. 

Chris first joined the teaching staff at Harvard Law School in 1991, working with Roger Fisher in the popular Negotiation Workshop. Thirty years later, he has been recruited back and appointed to the Harvard Faculty to share in the classroom what he has learned from three decades of deal-making and business-building. 

Chris holds three Harvard degrees. In addition to his Juris Doctor with Honors from Harvard Law School, Chris received his MBA from Harvard Business School (final-year honors) and his Bachelor’s from Harvard University (graduating Magna Cum Laude). When he was a student here, Chris initiated positive changes across the university while serving as president of the university-wide student government. He also founded the Harvard Negotiation Law Review, received the John Harvard Scholar award for academic achievement of highest distinction, published the Unofficial Guide to Life at Harvard, and competed as a Division I athlete. Born and raised in the Midwest (Columbus, Ohio), Chris has worked, invested, and conducted research in numerous countries spanning five continents.