European People News, January 2011

EVCA Names New Secretary GeneralDörte Höppner has been appointed to the top role at the European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (EVCA).

Höppner, managing director of BVK, a German private equity and venture capital association, has been a member of the EVCA’s public affairs executive, where she campaigned for reform of the AIFM directive, which was passed in the European Parliament last month.

She replaces Spaniard Javier Echarri, who steps down in late 2010 as secretary-general of the EVCA after a decade at its helm.

Blackstone Chief Flees to ParisThe Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman plans to quit his New York office to base himself in France for several months, according to a Reuters report.

Europe’s position between U.S. and Asian time zones is thought to have inspired the temporary move at a time when the private equity group is growing its foreign investment.

Blackstone is currently raising a yuan-denominated fund for China and recently closed a $15 billion fund, a large part of which is earmarked for Asia.

Schwarzman has maintained fractious relations with the Obama administration and this summer compared tax proposals for carried interest to Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

A Reuters source said the Blackstone founder could move to Paris in January, though the exact location is unclear.

Ibersuizas Counter Sues Sacked Execs

Ibersuizas, a Spanish private equity outfit, sacked four of its six partners in October only to receive a civil claim from the four, alleging breach of contract.

Now the Madrid firm has ordered law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to counter sue the group for “continued infringement of their fundamental duties as directors … of companies and their contractual obligations as managers of funds managed” and to investigate any possible criminal liability, according to Spanish news source Cinco Dias.

The sacked partners, Ramon Cerdeiras (former chairman of the Spanish Venture Capital Association), Fernando Chinchurreta, Juan Luis Ramirez and Iñigo Sánchez-Asiain, released a statement saying that they had “always worked to defend the independence of management and the interests of investors in managed funds.”

Octopus Snares Andrews from SVB

Mergers and acquisitions specialist Simon Andrews left American technology investor Silicon Valley Bank to join London’s Octopus Investments.

After a decade working in M&A and as an equity analyst, Andrews turned to venture debt and debt financing at SVB. Recent Octopus investments include £2 million ($3.1 million) in software company UltraSoc and £1.7 million ($2.6 million) in medical equipment developer Michelson Diagnostics.

Andrews will work alongside Simon Murdoch and Alex Macpherson to prepare Octopus companies for additional fundraising rounds in Europe and the United States.

Sautter Joins Cinven as Partner

European buyout firm Cinven strengthened its German team with the addition of Investcorp’s Thilo Sautter.

After 13 years at Investcorp, Sautter will leave his current role as partner responsible for private equity investments in German-speaking markets when he moves to Cinven in 2011, joining as co-head of the German team alongside Bruno Schick.

Schick is in charge of Cinven’s Frankfurt office.

At Investcorp, Sautter participated in such high-profile deals such as the acquisition of credit bureau Asiakastieto in Finland and the acquisition and exit of German car park operator APCOA.

Corporate Finance Duo Joins Foresight

Kent, U.K.-based alternative asset manager Foresight Group added Matt Smith and Darrel Connell to its private equity team.

The two join as investment managers in Foresight’s Sevenoaks office, on the fringes of London.

Connell previously worked at Grant Thornton, where he served with the high-growth corporate finance team. Smith’s prior role was at Rothschild, where he spent six years as a corporate finance adviser.

Compiled by Alex Derber