Future 40 Leaders – 2023: Operators

40 under 40: Future Leaders of Private Equity. Meet the operators blazing a path through the industry.

Anna Edwin

Anna Edwin, 38
Managing director and global head of talent

As global head of talent, Anna Edwin heads up TPG’s talent management, assessment and development efforts for around 1,000 employees, including goal setting, performance reviews and how those factors tie into compensation and promotion decisions – no mean feat for a firm of this size. Edwin also leads the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, and was said to be instrumental in rebooting its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, which comprises 17 partners across TPG’s offices and is supported by three employee-driven advisory boards.

As efforts to identify diverse talent across senior levels ramps up across the private equity industry, TPG’s Edwin has dedicated herself to overseeing the pipeline review programme for senior leadership positions in a bid to increase diverse representation at all levels and improve the retention of high potential senior employees.

According to TPG, Edwin’s work has helped the firm achieve a population that is almost 50 percent female, with women or racial minorities accounting for half of the last two classes of associate investors.

Ellen Köhler

Ellen Köhler, 39
Chief financial officer, Elevate

Ellen Köhler is the chief financial officer of Elevate, the in-house operating team at European growth equity firm Verdane. Köhler and the wider Elevate platform support more than 70 CFOs based across six countries, providing them with data-centric insights into the most effective growth levers for Verdane’s portfolio companies.

Köhler joined the firm last year, and in that short time she has helped streamline Verdane’s financial and tax due diligence processes, in addition to handling those processes for several Verdane investments. She also masterminded Elevate’s ongoing ‘Flow’ project, which aims to improve the financial reporting process across Verdane’s portfolio.

Köhler is described by colleagues as “determined” and adept at multi-tasking, and it seems these qualities are also evident in her hobbies – she is in the final phase of gaining her pilot’s licence, which she started working for during a sabbatical.

Rob Massey

Rob Massey, 37
Managing director
AnaCap Financial Partners

Having joined AnaCap Financial Partners in 2015 from Oliver Wyman, Rob Massey’s consultancy background has enabled him to take a hands-on approach to value creation. Massey’s operational expertise can be seen in the impact he has had on current and realised investments. For example, with his support, French insurance broker AssurOne’s revenues increased by 71 percent during the firm’s investment period, eventually selling at a 28.5x EBIDTA multiple in 2018, according to AnaCap. Meanwhile, at French business intelligence company Ellisphere, Massey oversaw the launch of a new product suite that propelled growth at such a rate that AnaCap was able to achieve a full exit on the business within two years – well ahead of the projected five-year hold.

Massey has also overseen the transformation of Danish health insurance company Oona Health, which has so far involved expanding the business into a new geography, and comes alongside a more than 27 percent compound annual growth rate in revenues and a doubling in the number of insured since the business’s acquisition in 2019.

Julia Wikmark

Julia Wikmark, 37
Head of corporate sustainability

EQT head of corporate sustainability Julia Wikmark has had a busy few years. Since becoming a part of EQT’s sustainability team in 2015, when the group was formed, Wikmark has been driving the firm’s credentials in this area. Soon after joining the team from the client relations department, Wikmark helped to develop a portfolio-level strategy and introduced the firm’s sustainability blueprint for its international portfolio, establishing transparency and ESG data standards that formed the basis of standards still in use by the firm today.

The external markers of Wikmark’s contribution are clear: EQT notably issued a sustainability-linked bond in 2021 that tied interest rates to its science-based targets commitment and diversity metrics, and in 2022 the firm’s sustainability efforts led to its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices.

According to the firm, Wikmark stands out for her “leadership, determination and positivity”, and continues to act as a “bridge between past and future, holding EQT accountable to the purpose and values that were set at its inception and always pushing to stay ahead of the curve”.

Jill Wittenborn

Jill Wittenborn, 34

Kansas-based Jill Wittenborn has played a key role in building PSG’s operations team, which has grown from six members when she joined in 2018 to 45 today. 

At PSG, Wittenborn is responsible for supporting portfolio company CEOs and CFOs. In this role, she utilises her operational and investment banking experience to help portfolio companies scale through budgeting, reporting, M&A integration, recruiting and exit preparation. 

Wittenborn’s expertise in scaling companies also draws on her background as a management team member of a software-as-a-service start-up, where she helped lead the business’s global expansion efforts, as well as contribute to a successful exit.

Her standout achievements at PSG include the development of a proprietary value-creation tool known as the ‘Operations Dashboard’, which measures portfolio performance and the involvement of the firm’s operations team. 

In addition, Wittenborn is a member of the firm’s ESG Committee and helps to lead the PSG Women’s Group, which provides networking and career opportunities for women at PSG and across its portfolio.