EQT managing partner steps down

Conni Jonsson will transition into the role of chairman of EQT Holdings in March 2014.

EQT Partners managing partner Conni Jonsson will step down from his position next year.

Jonsson, who will be replaced by Thomas von Koch, another partner who helped established the firm, will step down in March 2014. He will remain at EQT as working chairman of EQT Holdings, focusing on investment advisory activities and increased interaction with EQT investors, according to a statement. Both Von Koch and Jonsson will be members of all relevant EQT investment advisory related committees and portfolio company review committees.

“It has been an amazing 20 years leading EQT from a single buyout firm with a Swedish accent to becoming one of the most successful private equity organizations in Europe,” Jonsson said in the statement. “EQT has grown tremendously and we need to make sure we strengthen our management structure accordingly.”

Jonsson called Von Koch a “business orientated leader, well respected among our various stakeholders and has the EQT culture and values as part of his DNA”. Von Koch has been involved in many private equity transactions such as ComHem, KBW and Gambro. He was also head of the EQT Equity business line between 2008 and 2011.

Von Koch takes over at a time when Swedish private equity is facing a number of headwinds. EQT’s executives face a hefty tax bill after the Swedish tax authority announced it would retroactively tax the firm’s carried interest payments between 2007 and 2009, PEI reported in August. EQT called the decisions “incorrect and unreasonable” and said it would appeal the decision.

Additionally, as Sweden will elect a new parliament next year, public debate involving the role of business ownership is heightened. In a bid to improve the sector’s image, some of the country’s firms including EQT, Nordic Capital, Altor, Segulah, IK Investment Partners and Litorina have teamed up with the Swedish Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (SVCA) to establish a code of conduct for the industry, which will lay out how GPs should behave as company owners.

Gabriel Urwitz, Chair of SVCA and managing partner of Segulah, described the code’s creation as a reaction to the increased interest of Swedish society in private equity as the sector has grown significantly in recent years. “More than 200,000 Swedes are employed by companies employed by private equity, which is more than 5 percent of all employees. The combined turnover of private equity-owned businesses accounts for more than 8 percent of GDP, and this comes with a more societal responsibility,” he told PEI in July.

In June, EQT Partners changed its corporate structure in a bid to become more open and transparent. It brought all its various funds onshore under a new holding company called EQT Holdings.