Adams Streets' Smits to lead Newton

Ex-Adams Street Partners CIO Hanneke Smits, who established and grew Adams Street’s business in Europe and Asia, replaces Helena Morrissey at the London-based investment manager.


Hanneke Smits, the former CIO of private equity investment firm Adams Street Partners, is joining London-based Newton Investment Management as chief executive.

Smits, a high-profile leader in the European private equity industry, will focus on expanding Newton’s business in key growth markets, the firm said in a statement.

A traditional investment management business with about £51.8 billion in assets under management, Newton is not known for its private equity activity, though it does offer its clients exposure to the asset class through products such as its Newton Multi-Asset Diversified Return Fund, which holds equities, bonds, derivatives, and alternatives like infrastructure, commodities, convertibles, renewables, and hedge funds as well as private equity.

Smits has significant experience spearheading the expansion of investment management businesses, having established Adams Street’s presence in Europe and Asia, and built its global investment operations during her tenure at the firm. She joined Adams Street in 1997, and was appointed to its Executive Committee in 2001; in addition to her position as CEO, she was chair of Adams Street’s primary, secondary, and portfolio construction committees from 2008 to 2014.

Smits has “deep investment knowledge, an impressive track record of developing senior leaders and investment professionals, and proven expertise growing a global firm across developed and emerging markets”, Mitchell Harris, CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management said in a statement. “As Newton continues to expand its international footprint, I am confident in [Smits’s] ability to lead the firm into its next phase of growth.”

Smits will replace Helena Morrissey, who served as CEO for 15 years, and is taking on a new role as non-executive chair of Newton’s Board of Directors. In that role, Morrissey will continue to advise Newton and represent both Newton and BNY Mellon Investment Management in the financial services sector, the firm said.

In addition to serving as a non-executive director of Brussels-based Sofina SA, a Euronext-listed investment company, Smits is the co-founder and chair of Level 20, a non-profit group that aims to inspire women to join and succeed in the European private equity industry. Level 20’s backers include private equity heavyweights Advent International, Warburg Pincus, TPG, and KKR.

Newton is the investment management unit of New York-based global bank BNY Mellon, and provides investment products and services to institutional investors, charities, corporations, and individual investors who are clients of BNY Mellon.