Cinven clears the way for next generation

Two senior departures and a new managing partner form part of a ‘structural evolution’ at the London-based buyout house.

A raft of senior management changes at buyout house Cinven has seen the departure of two partners and the elevation of Hugh Langmuir to replace Robin Hall, who has been at the firm’s helm since 1988 as managing partner.

Robin Hall

Hall will continue his responsibility of day-to-day management of the firm while the current fund, a €6.5 billion vehicle closed in 2006, is being invested and realised. Langmuir, meanwhile, will wind down his portfolio company board responsibilities and prepare to lead the firm’s medium- and long-term strategic development. He has been with Cinven since 1991.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Clarke, an 18-year veteran of the firm and partner with joint responsibility for Cinven’s fundraising efforts, has retired from the buyout house. As well as his fundraising remit, Clarke was involved

Jonathan Clarke

in deals including the acquisitions of car parking business NCP and plumbing parts supplier Ahlsell.

Yagnish Chotai, a partner who had been with Cinven since 1996, has also retired. A celebrated rainmaker, Chotai was involved in numerous transactions at the firm including Gondola – the restaurant group that owns

Yagnish Chotai

the Pizza Express and Zizzi brands – and United Biscuits, a €2.9 billion consumer sector take private that Cinven exited in 2004 generating 2.2 times its investment.

Chotai was listed in the 2009 Sunday Times Rich List as owning a 6.5 percent stake in Cinven and a personal fortune of £35 million (€40 million; $57 million).

The retirement of Clarke and Chotai and the winding down of Hall’s management role follow the retirement last August of Cinven veteran Dick Munton. One of the founding partners of London-based firm, Munton had been part of the London buyout scene for almost 30 years.

In the period since March 2007, Cinven has created seven new partners – six internal promotions and a new hire. “The bottom line is that complacency is a real killer for private equity firms,” a spokesman for the firm told PEO.  “We believe this latest evolution of our structure is important in managing our portfolio of investments, all of which are very significant businesses, as well as creating room for us to bring on a new generation of partners.”

In the last five years Cinven has raised a weighty $11.93 billion in capital, according to the 2009 edition of the PEI 300, the ranking of the largest private equity firms in the world. It is currently around 50 percent invested from its fourth fund.