News: People

CD&R makes European appointment
US buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice has hired Olivier Cognet for the firm's European operations based in London. Cognet is a former director of strategic business development at Cisco Systems' European operations. Whilst at Cisco, Cognet teamed up with CD&R to identify business synergies at Italian telecoms firm Italtel, prior to the CD&R-led purchase of Italtel in 2000. Cognet's remit will be to work across the firm's entire portfolio and will identify and assess investment candidates, particularly in segments of the telecommunications and technology industries. CD&R has been involved in three recent deals in Europe, including the £434m purchase of UK food manufacturer Brake Bros, and according to CD&R CEO Don Gogel, the firm is looking to boost its European activity. ?Europe represents a significant, strategic and long-term growth opportunity for us.? Unsurprisingly the firm is targeting the growing number of asset sales by European corporates as a potential area for acquisitions. ?Many of the non-core assets resulting from corporate restructurings are in need of the kind of operating and financial skills we bring to our investments,? says Gogel.

Broadview hires five
M&A advisor and private equity manager Broadview International Limited has hired five new professionals in the firm's London office and has promoted two others. The firm has taken on one vice-president, an associate and three analysts and has named Julie Langley as principal and Adriana Marques as vice-president.

At a time when other M&A operations – particularly those within large investment banks are reducing staff numbers, the Broadview hires surprised some. ?They're either being very smart or dumb,? commented Lars Christian Brask, eponymous founder of fellow boutique Brask & Co. In Brask's estimation now is a good time to be hiring: there's top quality personnel available from within the investment banks who are predicting further lay offs and are therefore keen to find a more secure home. ?There are too many overheads and too few deals for these guys at the moment? comments Brask.

GE names new leveraged directors
GE European Leveraged Finance, part of the recently formed GE Commercial Finance, has named two new directors at its London operations as part of an effort to boost the firm's activity in the European senior and mezzanine debt middle market. The firm has appointed Miles Alexander and James Inglis, who become director and assistant director respectively. Alexander will be responsible for originating and underwriting participations in senior debt and mezzanine industrial sector deals in the European middle market. Inglis, who previously spent seven years at PwC Corporate Finance, will work on deal origination.

According to GE Commercial Finance head Graham Randell, the recently closed large leveraged deals have glossed over what has been a quiet year for deals in the mid-market. ?The mid-market is still quiet. I think it will be next year before we see an upturn in activity in this sector.? Despite the slowdown, GE Commercial Finance, which claims to have underwritten leveraged loans worth €18bn, still has a healthy range of deals in the pipeline. ?We are currently involved in seven deals in the €50-300m size range, one of which is a €300m transaction that we are leading.?

Nordea hires new partner
Nordea Private Equity, the private equity firm that in June closed a €208m fund of funds, has named former Washington State Investment Board (WSIB) investment officer Kim Pedersen as a new partner. Whilst at WSIB, the $53bn public pension fund with total investments and commitments to private equity of $13bn, Pedersen was responsible for managing in excess of $1.3bn of existing partnership investments. Pedersen will focus on sourcing direct and co-investment opportunities across both of the fund's target regions and sectors.

HPC names new investment chief
Henderson Private Capital, the private equity arm of AMP, has appointed the former head of Enron principal investments in Europe as the firm's new head of infrastructure investment in Europe. Marsden will be responsible for developing the firm's infrastructure investment business in Europe. The firm is looking to focus on targeting transport, energy distribution and Private Finance Initiative (PFI) investments in the UK. Marden is the second hire at HPC over the summer, following the appointment of Walter Moldan, former managing partner of UBS Capital's German private equity operations, as a partner at the firm's Munich offices in July.

The Onians Fellowship
The Onians Fellowship, set up in memory of Dick Onians, a founding chairman of EVCA and former managing partner at Baring Private Equity Partners, is seeking applicants for a second Memorial Fund Fellowship. The award is sponsored by registered charity the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) of which Dick Onians was chairman when he died in 1999. It is worth £30,000 and will be awarded to provide someone with the opportunity to take time out to develop an idea for the benefit of wider society. Although you may not be in a position to apply yourself, you may well know someone who could and should. Applications for The Onians Fellowship close on 31 October 2002. More details, including application details, can be found at www.thersa.org/onians. Interviews will take place in December with the Fellowship starting in February 2003.