Cathay Capital hires finance veteran as managing partner

Bruno Bézard, a former Inspector General of Finance in France, will join the Paris-based firm in July.

Bruno Bézard, a former inspector general of finance in France, has joined French private equity firm Cathay Capital as managing partner, the firm said in a statement.

Bézard becomes the seventh managing partner at the firm, joining Edouard Moinet and Hervé Descazeau, who are based in Paris; David Hoffman, who is based in New York; Lanchun Duan, who is based in Shanghai; Dennis Barrier who is based in San Francisco; and Jason Hu Ningfeng, who is based in Beijing.

Bézard’s main responsibility is to build a new investment vehicle focused on financing European and Asian companies. As inspector general of finance he provided oversight of all financial ministries in France and was responsible for evaluations and audits of all public bodies.

He will assume his post at the firm in July 2016, together with Cathay’s newly appointed chief operating officer Daniel Balmisse, a former executive director of fund of funds at Bpifrance, as reported by Private Equity International.

Bézard will be based in both France and China, travelling constantly between the two countries, the firm said.

Early this month, Ming-Po Cai, Cathay Capital’s president and co-founder told PEI about the firm’s plans to strengthen its China operations and to further invest in Chinese portfolio companies. 

The firm specialises in cross-border investments across China, US and Europe and has over €1.5 billion of assets across four funds.

Cathay is in market with its Sino European Small Cap III Fund which held a first closing on €100 million in December last year and has a hard-cap of €250 million. The fund will invest €5-20 million in about 15 companies.

It is currently investing out of its €500 million Sino European Mid Cap Fund, which invests in telecommunications, media and technology (TMT), industrials and consumer goods companies.

It is also raising capital for two other funds, a Sino-French Innovation Fund which has target of €250 million a North American-Sino Fund targeting €350 million.

“We are honored by the choice of Bruno Bézard to partner with Cathay Capital’s unique platform in order to develop an entrepreneurial project with us,” Cai said. “The fundamental value of Cathay is to serve entrepreneurs looking to grow beyond their domestic borders. Within our ecosystem, Bruno will help to strengthen this essential value of usefulness for our French companies in their quest to enhance their international scope.”

Prior to joining Cathay, Bézard had a long career in government including as finance inspector at the French Inspectorate General of Finance; sub-directorat the Treasury Department for development assistance, multilateral banks and emerging countries; head of the Equity Investments Department at the Treasury;  deputy chief of staff for the minister of economy, finance and industry; economic and financial advisor to the prime minister from 2001 to 2002; and managing director of the French State Shareholding Agency (APE).

He had also worked at the French Embassy in China, where he headed the Greater China Regional Economic Department. In August 2012, he was named director of public finances, before being named managing director of the Treasury in July 2014.