Head coach

UK-headquartered Apax Partners is leveraging its ties with McKinsey & Company, the management consultancy, as the private equity firm maps out its continued global expansion.

Ian Davis, former global managing director of consultancy McKinsey, is to join Apax to advise chief executive officer Martin Halusa, another McKinsey alumnus, on moving the global buyout group to the “next phase of its international growth”.

Davis will be among kindred spirits at Apax; the firm continues to work closely with the consultancy and counts a large number of McKinsey vets among its investment team.  Halusa was introduced socially to Davis several years ago by Apax founder and industry pioneer Sir Ronald Cohen, himself a McKinsey veteran.

Davis has run McKinsey since 2004, having previously led the firm’s UK operations. He has been at the firm for nearly 30 years and formerly ran its consumer industries practice. He will retire from McKinsey in July.

At Apax, he will fill a newly created role as senior adviser – based in London – liaising with Halusa on the firm’s long-term growth strategy. His role will be distinct from those of the firm’s other advisory figures, who tend to be industry specialists who aid Apax’s sector teams in sourcing deals and managing portfolio companies.

Davis, also a non executive director of energy giant BP, will be assuming a less formal advisory role than that of Lord Browne, the former BP chief executive, who spent six months during 2007 chairing Apax’s advisory board. Browne subsequently left to join Riverstone Europe, an energy-focused private equity firm, as a managing director and managing partner. Apax has since moved to a less formal advisory structure.

“Ian has exceptional experience in meeting the challenges of creating a global professional services firm,” said Halusa in a statement. “We look forward to harnessing his strategic vision as we move Apax Partners into the next phase of its international growth.”

Apax raised its first fund, which was UK-focused, in 1981. In 1999 it went beyond the UK borders to raise its first pan-European fund. It now operates from 12 locations in Europe, the US and Asia.

In May the firm inked its first ever deal in Brazil, acquiring a 54 percent stake in Tivit, an integrated IT and BPO services company, for $1 billion. Halusa described the deal as advancing the firm’s “global strategy of investing in large companies that have strong, established market positions and the potential to expand.”