SHUFFLING THE PACK

Thomas Ramsay, who becomes a partner at EQT, fills an obvious gap at the firm. Recent changes in the Finnish team resulted in Udo Philipp, a partner from Germany, being installed as interim head in the summer of last year. This followed the decision by Petri Myllyneva, the senior partner in Finland, to step down after less than two years in his role. Philipp will now return to Germany.

Ramsay was previously a partner at Industri Kapital, specialising in the Nordic region and head of the Finnish operation between 2003 and 2006, when his role was made redundant.

EQT, headed by Conni Jonsson, has been quiet in Finland since 2005 and arguably needs a boost in that country. Thomas von Koch, head of EQT Equity, said,“The recruitment of Thomas Ramsay is a significant step in strengthening EQT Partners Finnish equity operation and local franchise. Finland is a strategically important market and we see many investment opportunities in Finland for all of EQT Partners' business lines – equity, opportunity, expansion capital and infrastructure. EQT Partners is fully committed to develop the franchise and business in Finland and we are very fortunate having engaged such a highly qualified person.”

In Denmark, where EQT has been more active, the experienced Ole Anderson, who has been head of the team for the past five years, is stepping down but will remain with the firm as a senior adviser and will stay on the boards of portfolio companies ISS, Dako and Gambro BCT. EQT said he would “spend approximately 50 percent of his time on EQT assignments, including EQT's efforts in Denmark and Eastern Europe.”

EQT is thought to be increasingly interested in Eastern Europe and there is speculation it is interested in opening a Polish office. Anderson said he wanted to “free up time for other engagements and personal interests.”

Peter Korsholm, the new Danish head, will join the board of Gambro BCT as well as continuing to serve on the boards of ISS and BTX Group. He joined EQT in 1999 and has been a partner since 2006.

PARKER GOES IN-HOUSE AT CVC
Buyout firm CVC Capital Partners has recruited as an industrial partner Tim Parker, former chief executive at motoring company the AA. Parker was parachuted into the AA after CVC and Permira bought the business in 2004. He left the company when it was merged with Charterhouse Capital-owned travel and insurance group Saga in July last year. His controversial stewardship at the AA was beset by protests from the GMB union, which specifically targeted job losses at the company. The number of people the AA employed decreased by 4,200 during the two buyout firms' ownership.

ownership. The AA's value increased from £1.75 billion ($3.53 billion; €2.29 billion) to £3.35 billion in the three years. Parker also worked for CVC as chief executive at Kwik-Fit, which increased in value from £330 million to £800 million between 2002 and 2005.

ADVENT FURTHER BOLSTERS PARIS TEAM
Global mid-market firm Advent International has recruited Alice Escoffier as assistant director in its Paris office from global investment firm 3i. Escoffier is the latest recruit to Advent's Paris team since it appointed Nicolas Maurin as an associate last September. At 3i in Paris she focussed on corporate and industrial sector transactions. Before joining 3i she worked in ING Barings' acquisition finance department in Paris. Last year, Advent's Paris office bought discount retailer Stokomani and financial derivatives software company Sophis for undisclosed sums. The two transactions were carried out in conjunction with Advent's Boston office.

RETAIL EXPERT HIRED BY BLACKSTONE
The Blackstone Group has recruited Gerry Murphy, who stepped down as chief executive of Kingfisher in November after five years at the home improvement chain. Murphy has joined Blackstone as a senior managing director. At Kingfisher, he worked on the demerger of KESA Electricals, which is now separately listed on the London Stock Exchange, and oversaw the integration of French company Castorama into the group. Murphy was previously chief executive of UK media company Carlton Communications, logistics firm Exel and food business Greencore Group. He also held various senior positions at brewer Grand Metropolitan (which, after merging with Guinness, became Diageo), and is currently a non-executive director at domestic products company Reckitt Benckiser.

PALAMON ADDS VICE PRESIDENT
London-based growth capital firm Palamon Capital Partners has appointed Valerio Boccardi as a vice president. Boccardi was formerly a director at Magenta Investimenti, the Italian mid-market private equity start-up which imploded last year following the departure of one of its founding partners. Prior to his spell at Magenta, Boccardi worked for six years at consultant McKinsey as an engagement manager. In January Palamon appointed Lorenzo Pellicioli, the chief executive of the Italian conglomerate De Agostini, to its board of advisors.

CRÉDIT AGRICOLE PRIVATE EQUITY BOOSTS TEAM
Frantz Paulus is joining Crédit Agricole Private Equity as an investment director to work on the French bank's coinvestment activity. He will report to Fabien Prévost, chairman of the management board. Paulus, 34, is moving from Ifrah Finance, a family office investing in pharmaceutical and biotech R&D development firms, where he has been investment director since 2006. He began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in London as an auditor in 1998. In 2001, he joined their transaction services department in Paris as a manager. Crédit Agricole Private Equity specialises in direct private equity investment in unlisted companies.

CRITICISM OF UK NON-DOM TAX
UK Chancellor Alistair Darling used his first Budget speech to press ahead with plans to introduce a £30,000 flat tax on foreigners working in the country. The UK private equity industry fears the change could prompt private equity firms to leave London for more tax-friendly jurisdictions. Confirming plans to charge a £30,000 annual levy on people registered as non-domiciled workers – known as ‘non-doms’ – who have been in the UK for seven years or more, Darling said it was only “right and fair” people pay a “reasonable charge” for enjoying special tax privileges. More than 112,000 people currently claim non-domicile status in the UK by declaring another country as their real home. As a result they pay no UK tax on their earnings or capital gains outside Britain. Private equity firms had warned ministers not to introduce the annual tax amid fears it could affect the UK's competitiveness as a base of operations for global private equity firms.