Permira, one of Europe’s largest buyout firms, has appointed Gerrit Zalm, a former deputy prime minister and minister of finance of the Netherlands, as an adviser to the firm.
Zalm is the latest in a line of politicians to turn to buyout investing after their political careers draw to a close. He is expected to be particularly valuable to Permira in the wake of the political turmoil the firm endured during the summer. This culminated in Permira’s managing partner Damon Buffini’s appearance before the UK parliament to give evidence to the Treasury Select Committee.
Buffini said: “Zalm is uniquely positioned to be of great value to Permira as the firm continues to grow and mature. Someone of his experience is a huge asset, not just in deepening our relationships and understanding in the Netherlands and beyond, but also in helping us to think about how we engage with a wider range of people.”
Other politicians to have joined private equity firms include John Major, the former UK premier, who enjoyed a spell as chairman of Carlyle in Europe. Alan Millburn, former UK secretary for health, and Chris Patten, the last UK governor of Hong Kong, both advise Bridgepoint, while George Bush Snr also famously advised Carlyle. William Hague, the former leader of the UK Conservative party, is on Terra Firma’s advisory board.
At Permira Zalm’s role will be broad-ranging – covering advice on business issues, the economy and the socio-political environment, the firm said.
He will help Permira find investment opportunities and support the growth of existing portfolio companies. He will also advise the firm about the macroeconomy, financial markets, general business environment and emerging prospects.
Zalm is the longest-serving Dutch Minister of Finance. He was Minister in five Dutch cabinets from 1994 until 21 February 2007, and is known for, among other things, the implementation of a new budgeting system, the Zalm-norm.