European People Briefs, December 2012

CVC Splits Chairmanship With Remaining Founders

Michael Smith, the co-founder and chairman of CVC Capital Partners, will retire in January 2013 after 30 years at the firm.

His position will be assumed on a joint basis by Donald Mackenzie, Rolly van Rappard and Steve Koltes, co-founders of the London-based buyout house that spun out of Citicorp in 1993.

Koltes will take over Smith’s responsibility for investor relations, Mackenzie will chair group board meetings, and van Rappard will oversee the CVC’s two private equity boards, for Europe/North America and Asia Pacific.

CVC has also appointed Rob Squire, previously of Coller Capital, as senior managing director within the investor relations team.

Smith’s departure precedes an expected fundraising drive by CVC next year, when the firm hopes to match its 2008-vintage, €10.8 billion ($13.8 billion) fund.

AXA PE Elevates Leading Light in Secondaries

Benoît Verbrugghe, the head of AXA Private Equity’s New York office, was rewarded for his part in the firm’s massive expansion into secondaries with a place on the board.

Verbrugghe was instrumental in several big deals since 2010, including the purchases of private equity fund interests worth $1.7 billion and $1.9 billion from Citigroup and Bank of America, respectively.

He also helped raise AXA’s $8 billion fund-of-funds, which closed in June 2012 and was more than double what the Paris-based firm originally expected to achieve.

The new fund will support further secondaries purchases at a time when new capital structure rules in North America and Europe are forcing banks and pension funds to reduce exposure to relatively risky, illiquid assets, such as private equity.

Alongside his position on AXA’s executive board, Verbrugghe will continue as head of the New York office.

Electra Nicks Wood from GCP

London-based private equity firm Electra Partners has expanded its investment team as it seeks to deploy £450 million ($715 million) of spare capacity.

Ian Wood joins as an investment manager after a spell at the European office of GCP Capital Partners, where he played a leading role in the March purchase of marine catering services company Garrets International.

His new role will involve larger acquisitions as GCP’s deal size limit sits at the lower end of Electra’s investment range, which extends to £100 million ($160 million).

The firm has £1.3 billion ($2.1 billion) under management, including a £100 million fund raised in 2008. It invests mainly in the United Kingdom.

Silicon Valley Bank Augments London Office

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has continued its European expansion with two appointments at its newly opened London-based office.

Allan Majotra was tapped to lead the branch’s private equity services division, while Namita Anand has transferred to London from SVB’s Palo Alto, Calif.-based office to work as a relationship manager.

SVB launched full commercial banking services in London in June, although the bank had a more limited presence in the United Kingdom since 2004 through its affiliate SVB Financial Group UK.

The group helped finance several of the U.K.’s fastest-growing technology companies, including Mimecast, which closed a $62 million series C round in September.

SL Capital Elevates Senior Trio

SL Capital Partners, the private equity arm of Scottish financial institution Standard Life, promoted Patrick Knechtli and Mark Nicolson each to partner, and Jamie Ebersole to managing director of the firm’s U.S. investment team.

Knechtli is to lead the firm’s growing secondaries business from its Edinburgh headquarters; he will also make primary fund investments within SL Capital’s core fund-of-funds business, and pursue direct co-investment opportunities.

Nicolson will also cover primary investments, secondaries and co-investments in the U.K. and Germanic markets.

Ebersole will now lead SL Capital’s North American investment programme, working from the firm’s Boston office.

SL Capital has raised about €6.5 billion ($8.4 billion) across eight investment vehicles, two of which are dedicated to North America.

ADIA Hires Private Equity CFO

The Sovereign wealth fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) named Marc Keirstead as CFO of its private equity department.

Keirstead will oversee finance and administration within ADIA’s private equity department; the role will encompass portfolio and asset-level valuations, reporting and analytics, transaction support and compliance.

Keirstead’s move continues a career that has taken in some of the world’s most powerful institutional investors, including Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System.

ADIA’s assets are undisclosed, but estimated at up to $627 billion.

The fund has a target allocation for private equity of 2% to 8% of total assets, although there were reports last year that ADIA was expanding its private equity team as a prelude to increasing its allocation.

Compiled by Alex Derber