Adams Street CEO French to work full-time through at least 2017

  • Plans disclosed in a letter to LPs
  • French said he will work through age 65
  • CIO Smits to leave at year’s end

Adams Street Partners Chief Executive Officer T. Bondurant French will remain at the advisory firm in a full-time capacity through at least 2017, when he turns 65, according to a letter distributed to limited partners.

The primary purpose of the letter was to notify clients and investors of the departure of Chief Investment Officer Hanneke Smits, who plans to leave the firm at year’s end to take a career break and pursue other interests. Smits’s responsibilities will be assumed by Kelly Meldrum, who has been promoted to head of the primary investment team.

“As you know, I intend to remain full-time in my duties at Adams Street Partners until at least December 31, 2017. This timeline does not change. Not only am I continuing to be actively involved in all parts of our investment process, but I will be working closely with Hanneke, our Executive Committee and our Board of Directors to ensure that Hanneke’s duties are transitioned in a seamless manner,” French wrote.

French, who turns 62 next week, told Buyouts that he planned to work through the age of 65. “I said to people that I’d work until I’m 65 and that’s three years away,” he said. “That’s not changed. That’s a date we’ve been talking about for a decade.”

The firm is in the process of developing his successor, French said. He declined to specify who would be considered for the position upon his retirement.

Adams Street has successfully navigated successions in the past, French said, noting that the composition of the leadership team has changed several times since its predecessor organizations began investing directly in private equity in 1972. French has been with Adams Street since 1980.

French is responsible for managing the firm’s relationships with Accel Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners, New Enterprise Associates and Austin Ventures, according to Adams Street’s website. He received a Buyouts Lifetime Achievement Award earlier this year.

Adams Street manages $25 billion of assets across its direct and fund investment platforms, including funds of funds, secondary funds and direct investment funds. The firm maintains offices in Chicago, London, Menlo Park, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo.