Adams Street’s Gull steps down as secondaries head

Jason Gull will retire at the end of the year from both the global investment firm and the industry, sister title Secondaries Investor has learned.

Adams Street Partners' Jason Gull has stepped down as head of secondaries and will retire from the industry at the end of the year, PEI sister publication Secondaries Investor has learned.

Gull, 46, who is leaving to spend more time with his family and on service opportunities, has been replaced by Jeff Akers as head of secondaries investments. Akers, a decade-long veteran of Adams Street, will be responsible for the firm's activities in the strategy including investments, fundraising and portfolio construction.

Gull noted his decision came after much deliberation with family and his partners. “Having fulfilled the obligation to investors in Fund 5”, it felt like the right moment to make a change, he said.

He characterised his retirement as “bittersweet”, saying he remained enthusiastic about the prospects of Adams Street, its secondaries team and the market while his next move, while very exciting, was “a bit of a jump into the dark”.

Gull plans to relocate to Park City, Utah, where he will focus his time on family (he has two children at home and two in college), service and outdoor activity including skiing and two upcoming Iron Man races. He is joining the Summit County search and rescue team, as well as looking for other ways to provide service. Asked what that means precisely, Gull noted he has in the past been active in church service, scouting organisations and providing help to rural communities abroad; going forward, he wishes to provide first-hand service directly to “help people who are in desperate need”.

Asked if he might return to investing at some stage, Gull said: “I will be actively investing my own capital and may consider something entrepreneurial in the future, though not anytime soon.” And it won’t be secondaries, he added.

Before joining Adams Street in 2004, Gull spent seven years at private equity and real estate secondaries firm Landmark Partners in its Connecticut headquarters. His early career includes a stint as a director on the organising committee for Salt Lake City's Winter Olympic Games between 1993 and 1996.

Gull's decision comes as the global investment manager wraps up investing its Adams Street Global Secondary Fund 5, a 2012-vintage vehicle that closed above target on $1.05 billion and is now fully invested.

The firm took around a year to raise the fund, which had a $750 million target, with around two-thirds of capital coming from existing investors, according to PEI data.

Akers, a partner who previously focused on sourcing and executing secondaries investments, has also been appointed as a member of the firm's executive committee and is chairman of its secondaries investments committee. Before joining Adams Street he focused on private equity due diligence and corporate growth strategies as a consultant at LEK Consulting and also has experience at William Blair & Company and SunTrust Equitable Securities.

Adams Street has 13 investment professionals on its secondaries investment team and has closed more than 190 secondaries deals since 1986. The firm has $28 billion in assets under management and employs more than 140 staff across eight global offices.