Permira’s Kurt Björklund leaves RDIF advisory board

Björklund has cut ties with the Russian state-backed fund as the crisis in Ukraine continues to intensify

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a $10 billion fund set up by the Russian government, has lost Kurt Björklund, co-managing partner at Permira, as a member of its international advisory board.

Permira declined to comment on the story, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, while RDIF did not respond to a request for comment at press time.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) was established in 2011 to invest in Russian companies. Björklund joined the RDIF’s international advisory board, which is understood to be an informal networking group, in September 2011.

“The Russian market offers good long-term investment opportunities in a growing economy. The RDIF is a creative way to offer foreign investors alignment and access to this attractive market,” Björklund, said in a statement at the time.

The board consists of a number of prominent private equity players including: Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and chief executive officer at The Blackstone Group; Leon Black, chairman and chief executive officer at Apollo Global Management; TPG’s founder and managing partner David Bonderman; Martin Halusa, the former chief executive officer of Apax Partners; and Joseph Schull, head of European operations at Warburg Pincus.

Björklund’s departure comes as the crisis in Ukraine continues to intensify. On Thursday, the Ukrainian president cancelled a meeting in Turkey because of “sharp aggravation of the situation in Donetsk region”, he said in a statement, adding that Russian troops “were actually brought into Ukraine”.

Both GPs and LPs active in Russia have been monitoring the situation in recent months. “We continue to invest and we are seeing excellent opportunities; however, we are also viewing the situation soberly and see the potential for things to deteriorate further, so we are prepared for this also,” Michael Calvey, a senior partner at Baring Vostok told PEI in March. “LPs are clearly worried about the situation, and I suspect many LPs will hold back from making new commitments to the region while they wait to see how it plays out.”