Maxwell quits Standard Life after buyout fails(3)

Jonny Maxwell, one of the industry’s most high-profile executives, has walked away from the fund of funds business he built over almost two decades after failing to agree a buyout with his employer.

Jonny Maxwell, the head of Standard Life Investments’ £2.5 billion (€3.7 billion; $4.9 billion) private equity business has left suddenly after 17 years after failing to take the unit private.

A managing partner at a UK buyout firm said: “From what I have heard, he tried to take it away. Standard Life said no. Goodbye Jonny. As for his future plans, I’d be quite startled if it didn’t involve setting up an independent fund of funds.”

He said Maxwell’s negotiation with his employer had been reasonably brief.

A partner at an investment advisory firm said: “There is almost no-one with better connections or a higher profile. If he wants to go it alone, he will raise the money over night.”

Standard Life said the departure of Jonny Maxwell was a result of “differences about the future direction and ownership” of the private equity unit.

Maxwell has also resigned as an executive director of Standard Life Investments.

Standard Life said: “The private equity team remains in place and is committed to developing the successful business built up at Standard Life Investments. The company does not anticipate any further significant departures.”

David Currie: new role

David Currie has today been appointed as chief executive officer of Standard Life Investments Private Equity.

Currie joined Standard Life Investments as joint head of Private Equity in 1998 and is credited with playing a significant role in building up Standard Life Investments’ private equity business.

Peter McKellar has been appointed as chief investment officer of the unit. McKellar and Stewart Hay, who heads its marketing have been appointed to the board of Standard Life Investments Private Equity.

Maxwell joined Standard Life in 1989 as the only executive with full-time responsibility for private equity investments.  He joined the board of directors in June 2004.

According to the website, the firm’s private equity business manages about €3.7 billion (£2.5bn) of investments including 72 European private equity funds and 18 direct investments. Besides major institutional investors from the US and Europe, its clients include a number of high net worth individuals.

Maxwell was not available for comment.