European People Briefs, August 2012

Advent Hires a Doctor Dealmaker

London-based Advent Life Sciences has opted for a combination of professional and business expertise with the appointment of Alain Huriez as a venture partner.

Huriez is a former medical doctor who has also occupied senior positions in private equity and life sciences, as an associate partner at Truffle Capital and CEO at TcLand Expression and Neovacs.

Advent’s life sciences team has mostly been concerned with add-on acquisitions this year, though in January, the firm lead a £2 million ($3.1million) Series A round in CN Creative, which develops anti-smoking aids.

That deal followed a £100 million ($155 million) final close of Advent’s first dedicated life sciences fund in January.

Masson and Rouland Find New Home at Activa

Mid-market investor Activa Capital has hired Sophie Rouland as an investment director and Alexandre Masson as an operating director, its fifth and sixth appointments in the last 12 months.

Rouland joins Paris-based Activa after 10 years at Barclays Private Equity France, which became Equistone Partners Europe when Barclays sold off the unit to management in late 2011.

AFIC Rebrands, Appoints New President

France’s private equity and venture capital trade body has changed its name and elected Louis Godron as its new president.

The body will continue to be known as AFIC, though the acronym now stands for French Association of Investors for Growth, ostensibly to highlight the positive role that private equity plays in the economy.

Godron, managing director of lower mid-market firm Argos Soditic, takes over from Hervé Schricke, who has completed his two-year term.

AFIC has also expanded its board from 12 to 14 members to better represent the different facets of the private equity industry.

Joining the board are Isabelle de Baillenx, president of seed funding firm FA Dièse, and Michel Chabanel, president of mezzanine financier Céréa Gestion.

Octopus Elects to Dance with Bance

The venture arm of London-based Octopus Investments has snagged alternative energy expert Peter Bance as entrepreneur-in-residence.

Bance worked for much of the last decade as CEO at fuel cell provider Ceres, leading the company through two private equity rounds totalling £25 million ($39 million) and a public listing in 2004.

At Octopus he will evaluate potential investments and advise management within the firm’s multi-sector portfolio.

This includes several cleantech companies, such as Applied Superconductor, for which Octopus joined a £3.6 million ($5.6 million) round in 2011; and Diverse Energy, a manufacturer of low-carbon power generators, which received £2 million ($3.1 million) from Octopus in 2010.

Palatine Holds Fort and Darby

Small-cap private equity firm Palatine has increased its executive advisory board to six with the appointments of Ian Darby and Michael Fort.

Darby has held numerous senior roles in financial services, most recently as CEO of Towergate Financial. He will advise a Palatine portfolio that includes Money Group and Wealth at Work, which educates employees on financial benefits in the workplace.

Fort’s expertise lies in health care. A former British Venture Capital Association CEO of the year, he drove the international expansion of Synexus, which provides clinical trials at its own research centres.

Palatine’s seven-company portfolio does not yet have a presence in life sciences, though that may change as both Fort and Darby are tasked principally with originating new deals.

Lewis and Swallow Nest at Lyceum

London-based buy-and-build specialist Lyceum Capital has tacked on an operations manager and an investment executive to its team.

New operations manager Mark Swallow joins from business software group Sage, where he was head of finance at Sage Pay, while Adam Lewis moves over from NGBI Private Equity.

Lyceum said the appointments reflected strong deal-flow in 2012, also evidenced by the promotions earlier in the year of Humphrey Baker and Martin Wygas to investment directors.

Compiled by Alex Derber