Attwood steps back at ICG

Christophe Evain will take over as chief executive from Tom Attwood as the listed debt investor outlines plans to raise more third-party money.

Industry veteran Tom Attwood has stepped back from his role of chief executive of Intermediate Capital Group (ICG), making way for Christophe Evain, who is promoted to head the firm.

Attwood described Evain as his “natural successor” in a statement on Tuesday, pointing to the fact that it was Evain – a managing director at the firm since 2005 – who spearheaded the firm’s international expansion, opening offices in Paris, Hong Kong and New York. Attwood will sit on the firm’s board and focus his efforts on the firm’s investors.

As part of his new role, Evain will also chair the investment committee.

Attwood (left) with Evain

The board changes come as ICG, which began life as a provider of mezzanine finance in the UK, is repositioning its funding base. Historically the firm has made a substantial portion of its investments from its balance sheet with a smaller portion coming from third-party funds.

“As a result of this growth in assets under management, we currently manage approximately €12 billion, comprising €3 billion of balance sheet portfolio investments and €9 billion of third-party funds,” the firm said.

The growth of the firm’s  balance sheet investments has been “constrained” by the scarcity of available debt capital, the statement continued, so the firm will focus on growing the business by managing more third-party capital.

“It is now our ambition to double assets under management over the next five years through a greater focus on our fund management operation and enhanced marketing capabilities,” it said. “We aim to be a leading global alternative asset manager specialising in mezzanine capital, growth capital, buyout debt and related asset classes.”

PEI recently conducted an in-depth joint interview with Evain and Attwood, during which the duo outlined how the firm grew from a mezzanine provider to an investor with interests across the whole capital structure.

“Gradually it occurred to us that the skills to analyse leverage are the same in leveraged loans and in mezzanine, although mezzanine is much more hands on, much more about structuring and negotiating, [while] in the senior loan market the skill’s about analysis and being able to buy and sell assets, which is where our team’s got lots of expertise,” said Evain.

ICG has also extended its mezzanine reach to include purchasing minority equity positions alongside company management or private equity sponsors. “It’s out of the scope of most of the buyout shops because they don’t want to do a deal where they aren’t in control,” said Evain. “We come from the culture of investing in situations where you don’t have control and you look for ways to have negative control … so it’s natural for us to move into that territory.”