3i appoints Citigroup’s Swannel to board

3i, Europe’s largest quoted private equity manager, appointed Citigroup Europe vice chairman Robert Swannel at its annual general meeting yesterday. The board also approved a £700m return of capital to shareholders, reported earlier in the year.

3i, the London-listed private equity firm, has hired Robert Swannel, a senior investment banker at Citigroup, as a non-executive director.
Swannel, who will join 3i’s board in September, is vice chairman of Citigroup Europe and a member of Citigroup’s global investment banking operating committee. He has also been co-chairman of Citigroup’s European investment bank.
Swannel is a non-executive director of The British Land Company, a member of the DTI Industrial Development Advisory Board and a trustee of the UK Career Academy Foundation. From 2001 to 2005, he was a member of the Regulatory Decisions Committee of the FSA.
Swannel’s career in investment banking began in 1977 at Schroders, acquired by Citigroup in 2000, becoming a director in 1985 and vice chairman in 1997.
Patrick Dunne, 3i’s communications director, said that Swannel’s operational experience would benefit the firm: “Robert has plenty of experience of FTSE 100 companies, as well as advising on numerous M&A and private equity transactions. He has also operated in major international businesses at a high level and will add to the healthy mix of perspectives on the board.”
3i’s finance director Simon Ball previously worked at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Chase Manhattan and Robert Fleming, while deputy chairman Oliver Stocken was finance director of Barclays, but Swannell is the only currently practising investment banker on 3i’s board.

Swannel joins a number of investment bankers to have made the move into private equity. Johannes Huth, head of KKR’s European business, joined the US firm six years ago from Salomon Brothers, while Kenneth Allen, formerly at World Bank and Macquarie, joined Lexington Partners, a New York-based secondary specialist, in June.

Julian Mash was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before setting up Vision Capital, a UK-based secondary direct investor, as was Christopher Flowers, who founded JC Flowers & Co, a New York private equity firm. Sandy Weill, Citigroup’s chairman, is also considering leaving the bank and setting up his own private equity firm.
Swannel’s appointment was announced at 3i’s annual general meeting yesterday. The AGM was followed by an extraordinary general meeting where a resolution regarding the proposed £700 million (€1.01 billion; $1.28 billion) return of capital, outlined in 3i’s preliminary annual results in May, was passed.