DEBT TO EQUITY

In this month's leveraged finance special, starting on page 51, Thomas Drewry – a specialist recruiter in the space – makes the point that private equity firms are skewing their hiring policies more towards operational experts these days. Nonetheless, as some recent moves have demonstrated, GPs will still roll out the welcome mat for senior bankers that know their way around a balance sheet.

In April this year alone, the following jumps from one side of the fence to the other took place: Chris Coles, former head of European leveraged finance at Barclays Capital, to emerging markets investor Actis; John Coyle, ex-global head of the financial sponsor group at JPMorgan Securities, to Permira (see page 22); John Sinik, former global head of leveraged finance at UBS, to TowerBrook Capital Partners; and John Empson, former head of the European leveraged loan capital markets team at JPMorgan, to KKR's London-based capital markets group.

Such moves have been seen before, although never have four come along more or less at once. Paris-based PAI partners has made at least two such hires. In June 2001, Frédéric Stévenin, who had some years earlier left PAI to become managing director of the European acquisition finance group at Deutsche Bank, rejoined the firm as head of the consumer goods group. Five years later, in 2006, Colm O'Sullivan made a similar move, joining the consumer goods group at PAI having been a member of Deutsche Bank's financial sponsors group. Meanwhile, Matthew Sabben-Clare left the leveraged finance division at Merrill Lynch in 2005 to head up a specialist debt team at Cinven.

With larger deals effectively on hold as a result of the mass exit of institutional investors from the syndication market, this is a time when many leveraged financiers will be of a mind to explore pastures new. And, given their existing relationships with private equity firms, it doesn't seem far-fetched to imagine the list of moves referred to above growing a fair bit longer in the months ahead.

FUND OF FUNDS RECRUIT FOR GRAPHITE
Graphite Capital, the UK mid-market buyout and fund of funds manager, has recruited former JP Morgan Private Equity fund of funds managing director, Dana Haimoff. She joins as a partner. Haimoff previously held senior positions in private equity in New York and London with Merrill Lynch and Prudential Securities before joining JP Morgan Private Equity's fund of funds team six years ago. Graphite Capital has accelerated its fund of funds activity over the last three years having been an investor in third-party funds alongside its own direct buy-out funds for more than 20 years. The team currently manages commitments of more than £600 million (€750 million; $1.2 billion) to 41 private equity funds and a portfolio of co-investments.

ACTIS HIRES LEADING LEVERAGED FINANCIER
Actis, a UK emerging market manager, has hired Chris Coles, Barclays Capital's former head of European leveraged finance. It said Coles would enhance the firm's existing risk management capabilities, assist with larger deal sourcing and debt financing and provide ongoing portfolio management support. Coles has spent the last 12 months on sabbatical from investment banking, completing a master's degree in international development. Coles was 11 years at Barclays Capital in London, where he founded the firm's leveraged finance business, helping build the bank into a loans powerhouse in Europe.

PROVIDENCE RECRUITS MORGAN STANLEY VETERAN
US media and entertainment buyout specialist Providence Equity Partners has appointed Andrew Tisdale as a managing director in its London office. Tisdale joins Providence from US bank Morgan Stanley, where he was co-global head of media and communications and a member of Morgan Stanley's management committee for investment banking. After joining Morgan Stanley in 1990 he served in a variety of senior positions advising on media and communications transactions in Europe, the US, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. He has worked on transactions by Morgan Stanley clients including computer company Apple, media group Bertelsmann, telecom group Deutsche Telekom and film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Providence's deals in the UK include an undisclosed investment in UK mobile store Phones4U.

EMI HIRES EX GOOGLE CIO
Terra Firma's EMI Group has recruited Google's chief information officer Douglas Merrill to oversee the development of a new digital music business. Merrill becomes the first president of digital music at EMI. His role oversees all aspects of the company's digital strategy, including innovation, business development, the supply chain and global technology activities. Merrill joined Google late in 2003. During five years at the internet company he rose to become chief information officer and vice president of engineering. He was responsible for all billing and revenue technology and processes for Google worldwide as well as internal engineering and support worldwide.

PRIVATE EQUITY LAWYER TURNS INVESTOR
Raymond McKeeve, a lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis who has built up a roster of private equity clients, is to turn real estate investment principal at R20, the property firm set up and run by Robert Tchenguiz. London-based McKeeve counts Apax Partners, Barclays Capital, FL Group, MidOcean Partners, Rianta Capital, Mountain Capital and Kingsbridge Capital Advisors as well as R20 among key clients. R20 is the investment firm set up by Robert Tchenguiz when he and his brother Vincent decided to leave the Rotch Property Group they jointly founded. McKeeve joined Kirkland & Ellis in 2006 from Linklaters. His area of expertise is advising private equity firms and portfolio companies on acquisitions, recapitalisations and exits.

BLACKSTONE APPOINTS BUSINESS LUMINARY IN TURKEY
The Blackstone Group has appointed Kemal Kaya as a senior adviser. Kaya will principally advise Blackstone on transactions in Turkey. Before joining Blackstone Kaya was chief executive of Yapi Kredi, a Turkish financial group. He led the acquisition of Yapi Kredi for Koç Financial Services, a financial company owned by Koç Holding, the Turkish conglomerate, in partnership with Unicredit, the European bank. To date this is the largest merger in the Turkish banking sector, where there has been a spate of consolidation in recent years. Before the merger of the two banks, Kaya was a general manager of Koç bank, the retail side of Koç Financial Services, and chief executive of Koç Financial Services. Kaya helped set up the strategic partnership between Unicredit and Koç, which has been in place since 2002.