Eisenchteter crowned as McConnell exits Cognetas

Nigel McConnell (pictured), who was instrumental in orchestrating Cognetas’ spin-out from Electra Investment Trust in 2005, has left the firm over strategic differences.

Cognetas managing partner Nigel McConnell has left the London-based private equity firm over strategic differences, Private Equity International has confirmed. It was unclear what McConnell's professional plans were at press time.

The co-head of Cognetas’ Paris team, Patrick Eisenchteter, will take over as managing partner at the firm.

Eisenchteter confirmed the changes at the firm but declined to elaborate on the nature of the strategic differences which prompted them.

McConnell's departure has triggered a key-man provision in the firm's €1.25 billion Fund II, causing its investment period to be halted. However, Eisenchteter noted that the fund's investment period was due to expire during the summer and the fund's remaining €200 million in dry powder would have been reserved regardless for follow-on investments and bolt-ons for the fund's existing portfolio companies.

Nigel
McConnell

He noted Cogentas had a “very good portfolio of assets today” and said that the firm would consider raising a Fund III, “in the future, when we are in a good position to do so”. Eisenchteter indicated that future vehicles would be likely to carry out the same investment strategy as predecessor funds.

Two companies remain from Cognetas' first fund, which is reportedly expected to provide a 2x return multiple.

McConnell’s leaving was not related to the firm’s 2008 and 2009 portfolio problems when several portfolio companies including plastic surgery business Covenant Healthcare, leisure companies Danoptra and Travelsphere, glassmaker SGD and printer CPI underwent restructurings, according to reports.

Cognetas was founded in 2005 after a management buyout from Electra Partners. Since then, the firm has raised more than €2 billion between its two funds.