Danske back in business with double partner hire – exclusive

The Danish bank’s private equity hires include a director from ATP Private Equity Partners.

The private equity unit of Danske Bank, which invests in mid-market buyout funds in Europe and North America, has hired two partners and positioned itself to return to fundraising.

Danske, which manages €3.7 billion of investor commitments, told investors on Wednesday that it has hired Adam Saunte, a director at ATP Private Equity Partners, as partner. Saunte, who will start later this month, has been with ATP for more than 11 years, according to his LinkedIn profile. A spokesman for Danske declined to identify the second hire, who also joins as partner.

The hires follow several departures among the investment personnel at the fund of funds manager. In June John Danielsen, founder of Danske Private Equity, and senior partner Peter Thellufsen, left the firm and were followed in September by partners Klaus Friis and Michael Maigaard and principal Jesper Knutssøn.

The resignations, which caused the firm to pause fundraising plans, were linked to Danske Bank’s decision to streamline the back-office functions of a number of its wealth management businesses, including the private equity unit.

A new chief executive, Michael Norgaard, was recruited from Danske’s treasury department and with the two new hires, the team is in a position to raise fresh capital, the spokesman said, noting that the next fund would follow the same investment strategy as the previous programmes – investing small and mid-market buyout funds in Europe and North America – and is likely to seek to raise a fund of between €600 million and €700 million, similar to its predecessors.