Phoenix appoints former Candover partner

The UK mid-market private equity house has recruited Jim Graham as its first-ever operating partner.

Phoenix Equity Partners has named Royal Navy veteran Jim Graham as operating partner, a newly created position. Prior to the move Graham spent three years in a similar role with buyout house Candover Partners.

Graham’s credentials also include acting as a commercial manager for mobile giant Orange in its £1 billion (€1.2 billion; $1.5 billion) pre-pay business unit and as a telecoms and media specialist with consultancy Accenture.

Jim Graham

Also joining Phoenix is Ed Lunken from LEK Consulting, where since 2007 he worked as a strategy consultant. Lunken will act as an origination analyst for the firm, where he will identify and research businesses to generate deal flow.

Managing partner Hugh Lenon praised the appointments, saying Graham’s experience as an operating partner “will greatly strengthen Phoenix’s engagement with our portfolio company management teams”; adding Lunken will put his “research skills to good use within Phoenix’s origination and research group”.

Last June Phoenix closed its latest fund on its £450 million hard-cap. The “Phoenix Equity Partners 2010″ fund was oversubscribed, according to a statement from the firm which noted 48 percent of commitments were raised from new limited partners.

The fund has made one investment: last year’s acquisition of Andrew Page, a UK distributor of automotive parts, which valued the company at £100 million.