Aurelius makes second ops hire in two weeks – Exclusive

Ed Akenhead will join fellow new hire Ben Paice at Aurelius portfolio company Allied Healthcare.

German-listed private equity company Aurelius has made its second UK operations hire in the space of two weeks, Private Equity International has learned.

Ed Akenhead joins as an operational manager, effective immediately, and will be placed at Aurelius portfolio company Allied Healthcare.

The appointment comes just two weeks after the firm hired Ben Paice as an operations manager. Paice was also placed at Allied Healthcare.

Aurelius acquired Allied Healthcare from Saga in December as a disposal of a non-core asset. Included in the acquisition were Allied Healthcare’s visiting care, primecare and homecare independent living business units. The business has more than 12,000 employees and recorded revenues of £282 million ($405 million; €360 million) in 2014, PEI reported previously.

Akenhead joins Aurelius from A.T. Kearney, where he worked as a manager responsible for the sale, scoping, and delivery of strategic and operational improvement projects, with a particular focus on the private equity, fast moving consumer goods, oil & gas, and TMT sectors.

Akenhead is the third hire to Aurelius’ UK team in 2016, following Paice and Daniel Simon, who joined as an investment associate.

In 2015 Aurelius hired Simon Brott and Gavin Duke as senior operations managers. Brott now works at UK portfolio company Solidus Solutions, a carve-out of Smurfit Kappa solid board operations in the UK, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway. Duke was placed at portfolio company Evolve Polymers, which recycles mixed plastics.

Members of the Aurelius operations team move across the firm’s portfolio companies depending on where their expertise is needed. Akenhead’s hire brings the team’s headcount up to 81 across all offices and companies.

Aurelius made 10 investments last year, and currently holds 23 portfolio companies. The firm is actively looking for deal opportunities in the UK, as well as looking to continue to grow its UK team, it is understood.

“The five appointments to our UK team in the past year have enhanced our deal execution capabilities in this market further and bolstered the group’s specialist operational taskforce responsible for delivering the crucial, ‘hands-on’ strategic support to our investee companies,” Tristan Nagler, managing director of Aurelius in the UK, told PEI in an emailed statement.

Nagler added that while the upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union is impacting the UK as a whole, Aurelius’ pipeline in the UK “remains strong”, and the firm expects to make further investments in 2016.

“While the uncertainty around the outcome of the UK referendum is undoubtedly impacting the volume of private equity backed deal flow in the UK market, corporates continue to require investment solutions for non-core assets and as such, this area of the M&A market remains active.”