Goldman Sachs’ Sharp to retire

Richard Sharp, the head of Goldman Sachs’ European private equity division, is stepping down as the firm gears up for a new fundraising.

Richard Sharp, European head of Goldman Sachs’ private equity arm, Principal Investment Area, will step down at the end of the year.

According to an internal statement from Goldman Sachs, Sharp took the decision to retire but will remain as chairman of the Principal Investment Area in Europe and will continue to serve on its investment committee.

After his departure, Sanjay Patel and Hughes Lepic will continue as co-heads of the Principal Investment Area’s private equity business in Europe, while Rob Gheewalla maintains his position as head of the Principal Investment Area’s mezzanine business in Europe.

Sharp, 50, joined Goldman Sachs in 1984 from JP Morgan as co-head of the debt capital markets and swap group, becoming a partner in 1994 and a managing director in 1996.

Sharp, son of the late Lord Sharp, chairman of Cable & Wireless in the 1980s, has been at the forefront of Goldman Sachs’ ‘triple play’ approach, where the bank provides underwriting and advisory services as well as direct investment. The strategy has been questioned as it generates a potential conflict of interest and could upset lucrative fee-paying private equity clients.

Goldman Sachs is understood to be readying itself to return to the market for its next fund, GS Capital Partners VI. Previous fund, GS Capital Partners V, raised $8.5 billion (€6.65 billion) in early 2005. Fund V received approximately 30 percent of commitments from Goldman Sachs itself and a further $1 billion from its staff, with the remainder allocated by institutional investors, high net worth individuals and families.

According to The Financial Times, the new fund has a target of between $10 million and $13 million

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