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Advent appoints Fitness First chair as operating partner

Andrew Cosslett, who is also chair of England Rugby 2015 and a former CEO of InterContinental Hotels, will work with the firm’s retail, consumer and leisure team.

Advent International has appointed chairman of UK gym company Fitness First Group Andrew Cosslett as an operating partner.

Cosslett, who is also chair of England Rugby 2015, which organised this year’s Rugby World Cup, will work with the firm’s retail, consumer and leisure team to identify new opportunities, the firm said. He will “support Advent’s current and future portfolio company activity as appropriate.”

Cosslett was chief executive officer of Fitness First from 2012 until July of this year. From 2005 to 2011 he was CEO of InterContinental Hotels Group and prior to that he worked at Cadburys Schweppes as regional president EMEA and also CEO of its Asia Pacific business.

Advent has invested in more than 65 companies in retail, leisure and consumer sectors in 19 different countries, including furniture retailer DFS, leisure wear retailer Lululemon, and Noosa Yoghurt, it said.

In June, the firm sold its majority stake in German perfume retailer Douglas to CVC Capital Partners, as reported by Private Equity International. The transaction valued the business at €2.8 billion. Advent invested in the company from its Advent Global Private Equity Funds VI and VII, taking it private in 2012 with its founders the Kreke family for €1.5 billion.

The firm’s operating partner programme includes 60 executives with specific sector experience who act as consultants to Advent and its portfolio companies and assist with sourcing investment opportunities, conducting due diligence and supporting value creation, the firm said.

The firm is currently fundraising for Advent International Global Private Equity VIII seeking to raise $12 billion. The fund is reportedly being marketed without a return hurdle rate, with limited partners paying 1.5 percent on committed and invested capital and the manager taking 20 percent of profits accrued over the lifetime of the fund.