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Founder and senior partner leave Danske PE

The departures come amid plans to integrate the Danish fund of funds into the parent company’s asset management division.

John Danielsen, the founder of Danske Private Equity, has left the Danish fund of funds firm along with senior partner Peter Thellufsen.

Danske will install Michael Norgaard, a senior vice-president in the bank’s treasury department, as chief executive, the firm said on Thursday.

Danske Private Equity, a wholly owned unit of Danske Bank, will be “integrated more closely into Danske Bank Asset Management”, according to the statement, which hints at an overall reduction of headcount through “operational synergies”.

“The goal is to strengthen Danske’s combined investment competences within private equity and alternative investments in general,” the statement said. “Danske Private Equity will remain a separate legal entity, with AIFM authorisation and will continue to pursue the same strategy and ambitions. However, the combination will lead to operational synergies.”

The existing Danske PEP funds I-VI remain with Danske Private Equity, and future fund products are expected to be offered “on a continuous basis”, the firm said.

The private equity unit is currently based in separate premises from the asset management business, and it is unclear whether this will change.

Danielsen and Thellufsen were half of the four-partner leadership team at Danske and have 44 years' investment experience. Private Equity International understands the pair could not reach agreement with the parent company regarding the firm's future strategy.

Norgaard has managed private equity allocations as part of the bank’s proprietary capital and has been a member of the Danske Private Equity board since 2008. The remaining partners, Klaus Friis and Michael Maigaard, have 18 and 20 years' investing experience, respectively.

Danske Private Equity was founded in 1999 and manages €3.7 billion of investor commitments, investing in small and mid-market buyout funds in Europe and North America. Among its clients are PensionDanmark and PKA.