People April issue 2006

AXA reshuffle

The London office of AXA Private Equity’s fund-of-funds business is becoming a limited company to be known as AXA Private Equity UK, and is moving to new offices at 55 Grosvenor Street from June 1.

Managing director of the London office James Pitt is leaving the firm to take up the position of managing director for European co-investments at Lexington Partners’ London office. The managing director of primary funds David Hutchings (who only recently joined from Cambridge Associates) is also departing, and is expected to take on a new consultancy role.

Vincent Gombault, a member of the executive committee and managing director of fund-of-funds at AXA, insists the move to turn the London office into a subsidiary is not a precursor to it becoming an independent fund; the Frankfurt team also enjoys subsidiary status.

Gombault says the departures of Pitt, who joined in 2002, and Hutchings, who joined in February 2005, were decisions made by them prior to a new fundraising exercise, which is currently at the planning stage. The current fund, 2004’s AXA Secondary Fund III, is 66% invested.

In other AXA news, Michael Ferragamo, currently compliance officer for the firm in the US, will be joining AXA Private Equity UK as compliance officer for both companies in UK and US. Alexandre Monteux from the Paris office is moving to UK to join the investment team. Vladimir Colas from the Paris Office and Mark Benedetti will join the New York office.

Granville name change

Granville Baird Capital Partners (GBCP) is changing its name to Baird Capital Partners Europe in the UK. This is the latest name change for the 30 plus year old firm, which has been the European private equity arm of Robert W Baird & Co since 1999. The rebranding exercise reflects the fact that GCBP has been increasingly working with its parent company in the US, Baird Private Equity.

GBCP has raised and managed funds totalling nearly €800m and currently has a portfolio of 27 investments.

Thompson quits

SJ Berwin partner Blair Thompson has left the firm for TDR Capital, where he will take up the newly created position of chief operating officer. Thompson joined the firm in 1997 and became a partner in 2002. Prior to this he worked for New Zealand law firm Buddle Findlay.

CC appts

Edward Gander, a managing partner at ViaNova Capital, a Swiss private equity firm, has resigned to rejoin Clifford Chance, the law firm he left in 2003. He has been appointed a partner in Clifford’s private funds practice. He will work alongside Jason Glover, Matthew Judd and Nigel Hatfield.

Separately, the Paris office of Clifford Chance has recruited four new lawyers to its acquisition finance team; Mustapha Mourahib is eight years qualified and previously worked at White & Case in both Paris and New York; Eric six years qualified and previously worked at White & Case in Paris and London; Laetitia Costa has been qualified for five years and previously worked at Ashurst and Allen & Overy in Paris; and Alhassane Barry, is one year qualified and previously worked at Gide Loyrette Nouel Case.

3i move

3i has moved offices and is now to be found at 16 Palace Street, London, SW1E 5JD. All telephone numbers remain the same.

NIBCapital name change

NIBCapital, the Dutch merchant bank, has changed its name to NIBC following its takeover in December last year by a consortium of investors led by JC Flowers & Co.

Cipio promotes

Secondary direct investor Cipio Partners has promoted Roland Dennert to partner. Prior to Cipio, Dennert was a director at Swiss venture firm, Atila Ventures, where he was responsible for its software, microelectronics and data communications investments in Europe and the US. Before this he was among the team that opened 3i’s office in Munich, where he was involved in several IPOs for the firm.

Before his career in venture capital, Dennert was a management consultant with Roland Berger & Partner in Munich and with The Boston Consulting Group in Paris. He started his career as an engineer with Hitachi Ltd in Japan.

Monument appts

Monument Group, the US-headquartered private equity placement agent, has opened an office in London and installed Martin Anthonsen as director. Anthonsen was formerly a senior member of the investment teams at Nordic Alternative Investment Advisors and financial group Länsförsäkringar AB. Prior to joining Monument he served as chief investment officer at NAIA, with responsibility for the construction and management of Länsförsäkringar’s global private equity and hedge fund portfolios.

John McLaren, co-founder and managing director of Monument, who recently relocated to London from the firm’s Boston office to become the managing director of Monument Group (UK) Ltd, leads the London office.

LDC recruits

LDC has appointed Tim Newman as business development director. Newman has been at Lloyds TSB for 30 years, spending the last 12 in the corporate banking team in the Midlands. He will be responsible for identifying potential investment opportunities for LDC and expanding the firm’s existing contacts network across the Midlands.

Deloitte appts

Deloitte has hired Simon Cuerden to lead its forensic practice in the North of England. Cuerden, who has specialised in forensic accounting since 1992, was previously a partner with PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has extensive experience in the disputes and investigations arenas, and has assisted clients on national and international projects.

Paisner joins Altius

Institutional investor advisory firm Altius Associates has recruited Guy Paisner as European partner, client services. Paisner joins Altius after seven years as a financial journalist specialising in private equity and venture capital. In July 2003 he was the launch editor of Private Equity News, and before this was the Paris correspondent for Financial News. He was previously the European venture capital writer at Red Herring magazine.

Duke Street adds

Duke Street Capital has appointed Sir Neville Simms as an operating partner. Like other operating partners at the firm, Sir Neville will provide the firm’s investment team with expertise and advice on deal origination, investee company transformation and exit management.

He is currently chairman of International Power, a UK power generation company, which has interests in 37 power stations in 18 countries around the world and a market capitalisation of £4bn.

Sir Neville was chief executive of Tarmac from 1992 to 1999, and subsequently became chairman of Carillion, Tarmac’s demerged construction business, until 2005. He is also currently the chairman of the UK Government’s Sustainable Procurement Task Force, as well as chairman of BRE Trust, governor of Ashridge Management College and a member of the President’s Committee of the CBI.

SJ Berwin move

SJ Berwin has moved its London office. It is now to be found at 10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE. Tel: +44 (0)20 7111 2222, fax +44 (0)20 7111 2000.

Mackie joins KCT

Former CEO of the British Venture Capital Association (BVCA) John Mackie, has joined the board of Kleinwort Capital Trust (KCT). Mackie stepped down as chief executive of the BVCA in March 2005, having been appointed to the position in April 2000, and was replaced by Peter Linthwaite. Mackie still holds a non-executive directorship at Parallel Ventures Managers, a UK mid-market private equity house.

Baker Tilly appts

Stuart McCallum has joined Baker Tilly as a director within the corporate finance team based in Glasgow, UK. He qualified as a chartered accountant in 1990 and has worked in a number of M&A roles with Forte plc and BPI plc before joining the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scottish acquisition finance team, where he gained a detailed knowledge of the funders’ perspective on corporate finance transactions.

PwC adds

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has appointed Chris Powell to its corporate finance advisory board. He will work with PwC partner, Olivier Wolf, who leads the team advising clients on corporate finance transactions in the entertainment and media sector.

Powell co-founded advertising agency BMP and led its development into a public limited company, expanding the business into a group of communication companies in the US and the UK.

From 1987 to 1999 he was chief executive of BMP plc (later BMP DDB Ltd), taking it to be Britain’s second largest advertising agency. He was then non-executive chairman of BMP DDB when it became part of Omnicom Inc, the world’s largest communication group.

He has over 40 years’ experience advising a wide range of business leaders and businesses, including Cadbury Schweppes, Unilever and Volkswagen. He has advised the Labour Party at general elections and has been chairman of the Institute of Public Policy Research since 2001.

Capital D opens SF office

Swiss-headquartered private equity firm Capital Dynamics has opened an office in San Francisco. It is the firm’s first office on the West Coast and its second in the US following the opening of the New York office in 2002.

Olisa steps down

Ken Olisa, chairman and founder of Interregnum, is to step down to pursue other business interests. Existing non-executive director Colin Goodall will become non-executive chairman in his place. Olisa will remain as a non-executive director of BioWisdom Ltd, Open Text Inc and Reuters plc.

Olisa said: “We have been through a number of cycles during the last 14 years at Interregnum, and it is a fact that we are one of the very few technology houses that has survived the immense challenges the industry has faced since the height of the boom in 1999, an achievement of which I am very proud. However, it was clear to me by the end of last year that a change of strategic direction was required, as was a fresh approach to the management of the company. I regard the restructuring we have initiated and recently announced, culminating in the sale of the portfolio today, to represent the end of one chapter and the beginning of another as Interregnum broadens its focus beyond technology alone. I am therefore delighted to be leaving the firm in the very capable hands of our new CEO, Niall Doran. I wish him and the team every success, not least because I remain a substantial shareholder.”

Pomona appts

Pomona Capital has named Paul Delaney as a director for its fund-of-funds business and partner. Based in New York, he will be responsible for spearheading Pomona’s US$1.6bn private equity fund-of-funds business.

He most recently served as a managing director in the private funds group at Bear Stearns & Co where he oversaw the origination and execution of private equity fund transactions globally. Prior to joining Bear Stearns, Delaney spent 20 years in investment management at Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, lastly serving as director, private equity portfolio management.

Cobbetts poaches

Law firm Cobbetts has taken five members of Pinsent Mason’s private equity team. Paul Johnson, Nicola Frost, Vicky Zivkovich, Paul Kelly and Sean Fitzgerald have all joined the firm as it seeks to improve its coverage of the private equity market. Johnson and Fitzgerald both join as partners, and have worked together for more than 15 years. Frost, who has more than five year’s experience, joins as an associate.

Mezz Mngmnt hires

Mezzanine Management has recruited Henry-Louis Merieux as a director. He will be based in Mezzanine Management’s Paris office and will be responsible for originating and managing mezzanine investments in France.

Meriex joins from Deloitte where he was a director in the advisory division, responsible for establishing its LBO and structured finance department in 2000. Before this he was a senior executive at Credit Agricole Indosuez (Calyon), focused on acquisition finance. He also spent three years working for Indosuez in Tokyo, arranging asset-based finance in Asia, and initially started his career as a financial auditor at Arthur Andersen late 1980s.

TVM name change

German venture house TVM has changed its name to TVM Capital. Following 23 years as Techno Venture Management, Helmut M Schühsler, managing partner, says: “Our rebranding initiative allows us to provide clarity and focus around what we do, namely, provide capital to the most promising emerging companies in US and European technology markets. Quite simply, the name change to TVM Capital formalises the commonly used acronym we’ve been identified with since our founding days as Techno Venture Management. At the same time, it allows us to leverage the TVM brand which has long stood for innovation, effective management and sound financial backing, and that remains precisely who we are today.”

Duke Street promotes

Duke Street Capital has promoted Colin Curvey to partner after more than six years at the firm focusing on consumer goods and insurance. He has been involved in the build up and eventual sale of Madison Filter, the acquisition of Accantia, the disposal of Wickes, and last year’s take-private of Equity Insurance Group (formerly known as Cox Insurance).

Before joining Duke Street, Curvey was an equity research analyst at Celfin, the former Salomon Brothers affiliate in Santiago, Chile. Previously he was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley in New York.

Palamon move

Palamon Capital Partners, the European mid-market firm, has moved offices. It can now be found at Cleveland House, 33 King Street, London, SW1Y 6RJ. The move also sees a change to the firm’s telephone and fax numbers: telephone is now +44 20 7930 7700, with the fax number being +44 20 7930 7707.

E&Y new role

Ernst & Young has appointed Simon Perry as the firm’s first global private equity leader. He has held a number of leadership roles at Ernst & Young since being made a partner in 1988, most recently having been managing partner of the UK transaction advisory services business. He will be based in London but will spend a significant part of his time working with senior colleagues in the Americas, Europe and Asia/Pacific.

Rainmaker award

Christopher Darlington, managing director at Hawkpoint Partners, following his completion of four deals in 2005, has won HgCapital’s Rainmaker of the Year award. Hawkpoint, which itself won an award, Independent House of the Year, advised on a total of eight deals last year. PricewaterhouseCoopers Corporate Finance won the Consumer, Leisure and Financials sector awards, based on deals over the last three years.

CIL appts

CIL, a UK commercial due diligence and market strategy consultancy, has appointed Candy Leung as a director based in its London office, joining from LEK. Her experience includes corporate and business strategy studies, market development studies and commercial due diligence. She has managed numerous projects in a wide range of sectors including leisure, retail financial services, healthcare, industrial products and technology.

The appointment coincides with Eileen McGregor’s decision to retire in the summer of 2006. A director, McGregor has been with CIL for 17 years, with particular focus in the healthcare sector and is currently in the process of transferring these client relationships to Leung and fellow director Giles Johnson.

Hunton & Williams

Law firm Hunton & Williams is launching a corporate recovery and insolvency practice in its London office. Mark Fennessy, formerly head of corporate recovery with Clyde & Co, will take up the reigns at the new practice, along with the rest of his team at Clyde. Prior to this he spent five and a half years with Herbert Smith, where he established its corporate recovery and insolvency practice.

UHY appts

Eter Petyt has been named the new head of corporate finance at the London office of accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young. He joined from Pridie:Brewster in December 2004. Two new team members join his department: Jonathan Ruffell and Simon Woodcock, who Petyt worked with before his move to UHY Hacker Young. Both will be involved in research, analysis and transaction support.