Exponent appoints new managing partner

Richard Lenane takes over from co-founder Hugh Richards who is due to retire from the firm in June.

UK-headquartered Exponent Private Equity has appointed Richard Lenane to succeed Hugh Richards as managing partner as of 1 January, the firm said.

Richards, who was one of the firm’s founders when it was established in 2004, will retire at the end of June.

“I started my career in private equity in 1982 and the industry has changed beyond recognition since then,” Richards said in a statement. “It’s been a huge privilege to be one of the founders of Exponent and to have played a part in making it the success that it has become. Richard joined us shortly after we founded the business in 2004 and I am very confident that the firm will continue to prosper under his leadership.”

Lenane joined the firm in 2005 having previously worked at Apax Partners and Boston Consulting Group. He has participated in transactions including the acquisitions of publisher TSL, graduate career advice and recruitment company Group GTI, media information provider Gorkana Group, Ambassador Theatre Group, VAT refund company Fintrax Group, tool and equipment hire company HSS Hire and sightseeing operator Big Bus Tours.

The firm’s finance director and partner Craig Vickery will now also oversee the firm’s operations, while Carl Lavin and James Gunton have been appointed directors.

The firm closed its third fund in April on £1 billion ($1.4 billion; €1.3 billion), above its £800 million target, with commitments from investors including the Netherland’s PGGM, the Bank of New York Mellon and the City of London Corporation Pension Fund, according to PEI Research & Analytics.

Exponent Private Equity Partners III, which follows the firm’s strategy of investing in upper-mid market companies with an enterprise value of £75-350 million, has already acquired Big Bus Tours, diagnostic product developer BBI Group and online discount company Wowcher.

In 2015 Exponent returned £794 million to investors from its exits of thetrainline.com to KKR, Quorn Foods for an enterprise value of £550 million to Monde Nissin, and Fintrax Group, in which it invested through its second fund, a 2008-vintage, £805 million vehicle.