Adams Street CIO Smits stepping down

  • Will remain with firm through yearend
  • Meldrum promoted to take her duties
  • Clients, consultants notified last week

Adams Street Partners Chief Investment Officer Hanneke Smits has decided to step down, the firm announced in a statement on Tuesday. She will remain in her role through at least the end of 2014, at which point she will take a career break to focus on “a new series of challenges to support a variety of interests.”

Smits’ responsibilities will be assumed by Kelly Meldrum, who has been promoted to head of the firm’s primary investment team. Meldrum is currently responsible for managing several of Adams Street’s general partner relationships. She previously was director of private equity for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

In addition to Meldrum’s appointment, the firm also announced that Partner Jeff Diehl had joined its executive committee. Diehl joined Adams Street in 2000 and currently works on its direct venture and growth equity team. He was previously a principal at advisory firm the Parthenon Group.

Adams Street, a Chicago-based fund of funds specialist, notified its clients and consultants last week, spokesman Martin Gawne told Buyouts, adding that Smits’s departure did not trigger key person clauses in any of the firm’s investment funds and that she would not be leaving the firm for a competitor.

“Hanneke’s departure is a transition that’s going to happen over the next couple of months, Kelly’s appointment was the first step in that process,” he said.

Smits has not specified what she plans to do after she leaves Adams Street, where she was hired in 1997. She has been active in the firm’s leadership from its London office since it spun out from Brinson Partners in 2001, Gawne said. She took on the role of chief investment officer in 2008.

Last year, she joined the board of trustees of Impetus—The Private Equity Foundation, a venture philanthropy organization based in the U.K.

“I cannot emphasize enough our admiration and appreciation of everything that Hanneke has done to build out Adams Street’s global investment capabilities,” said Chief Executive Officer Bon French in a statement. “Part of Hanneke’s legacy is the development of a deep and talented team of investment professionals and a truly global platform.”

The firm plans to continue building out its primary, secondary, co-investment and venture/growth capabilities on a global basis, he said.

In addition to its London location, Adams Street also maintains offices in Chicago, Menlo Park, Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo. The firm was founded in 1972.