PEI enjoys chewing the fat with London's private equity headhunters: they always have some interesting, and occasionally indiscrete, thoughts to share.

In a recent exchange of views, it became clear that the appointment of industry veterans to the general partner ranks is widely acknowledged to be a good thing. But we discovered that there are very different ways of expressing that point.

Commented one relatively youthful executive searcher: “Those with industrial backgrounds bring complementary strengths such as operational skills and a network of contacts. Most LPs would like to see more industrialists in private equity firms for those reasons.”

A fair point well made, but perhaps lacking the succinctness of an arguably more wizened proponent of the headhunting game, who said industry guys are useful “because they can spot when a management team's talking bullshit”.