3i looks outside for new FD

3i is once again looking outside the organisation to fill a senior position – this time that of finance director – after new chief executive Philip Yea announced a reshuffle yesterday.

In a pre-close period analyst briefing ahead of the announcement of interim results on November 4, global private equity group 3i’s new chief executive Philip Yea announced a reshuffle of senior management.

Former finance director Michael Queen will be moved to head of growth capital in place of Chris Rowlands once a new finance director has been appointed. In a statement, 3i said the process has commenced to appoint a new finance director who is “expected to be an external candidate”.

This would be in keeping with the appointment of Yea himself, who was hired in May 2004 as 3i’s first ever chief executive to be recruited from outside the organisation. Yea, who succeeded Brian Larcombe, was previously a managing director at Bahrain-based private equity firm Investcorp.

The position of finance director is one that Yea would attach great significance to, having been finance director at Guinness from 1993 to 1997 and then group finance director at Diageo from 1997 to 1999. During his stint as FD at Guinness he led the merger with Grand Metropolitan that resulted in the creation of Diageo.

To accommodate Queen as the new head of growth capital, Chris Rowlands will move to the newly created role of head of group markets with responsibility for “further developing the benefits of the group’s geographic network as well as its sector and business contacts”. Rowlands is a member of 3i’s executive committee 

In another move announced yesterday, Denise Collis was appointed 3i’s new group human resources director effective from 8 November 2004. Collins, who joins the executive committee, is currently partner and head of human resources at Ernst & Young.

Yea said the changes “will improve 3i’s engagement with the market”. They follow the resignation in August of Martin Gagen as head of the firm’s US activities based in Menlo Park, California. Gagen was replaced by Allan Ferguson, who had helped set up the US operation in 1999.

Sir Robert Smith, a founding father of private equity in the UK, was recently appointed a non-executive director at 3i, along with ex-Mannesmann executive Peter Mihatsch.