EQT reshuffles management ahead of possible IPO

Thomas von Koch is handing over the reins at the end of the year as the firm considers its outside investment options.

Thomas von Koch, who has lead EQT as managing partner and chief executive since 2014, will step back from the role to make way for Christian Sinding from 1 January.

Sinding is head of the firm’s equity business and will be replaced by two co-heads, Per Franzen and Marcus Brennecke. Franzen, a Swede, is currently head of EQT Nordics, while German Brennecke is deputy managing partner of EQT Equity and head of EQT DACH.

Investors will not come be surprised von Koch is handing over the reins at this point; EQT is working on a potential IPO for the firm as part of a strategic review.

“Before you pull the trigger [on an IPO] you need to have the top team in place,” said one investor in the firm’s funds.

Little is known of the process, but EQT recently told investors – according to the same LP – it will take a decision within the next six to 12 months. Another source with knowledge of the process said a decision will not be made until the second half of 2019 and that while an IPO is the most likely outcome, an alternative would involve taking on an outside investor.

In October, Jannik Kruse Petersen, head of the EQT Mid Market Europe fund left the firm, triggering a key-person event.

Von Koch has presided over an era of continued diversification and growth at EQT. The firm now has established businesses in infrastructure, credit, real estate and venture capital. It has also raised its first US mid-market fund and is currently working on a public equities strategy.

During his tenure, the firm has doubled its capital under management. In 2016 the firm broke into the top 10 largest private equity firms, according to the PEI 300. The firm sits at number seven in the rankings.

As we noted in 2016, EQT has been taking a leading on stance on a number of pertinent issues, such as tax, transparency and ESG and leans heavily on culture that stems from the long-term investment horizon of its parent Investor AB.