The long-awaited break-up

After what has been years of speculation, solid details of Barclays Private Equity’s expected spin-out from parent company Barclays Capital emerged in November. As revealed by Private Equity Online, the new head of the firm was not selected from the three existing co-heads and was not – as many expected – London-based.

Guillaume Jacqueau, a 45-year-old veteran managing director from the French team, will be elevated to managing partner and head of France when the firm finally executes the spin-out. This is due to happen when the team reaches a first close for its fourth fund, which is in pre-marketing stages with a target of €1.5 billion.

Jacqueau has been with BPE since 1995 and previously had responsibility for co-managing the French investment team. He has led some of BPE’s most successful transactions, including Converteam, a power storage business which was partially exited in 2008 in a deal understood to have generated a 12x multiple and 170 percent IRR.

Since 2005, when chief executive Graeme White passed away, BPE has been led by three co-heads, based in Paris, London and Munich.

The reshuffle at the top of the firm sees Gonzague de Blignieres, formerly one of the three co-heads and the country head for France, stay on as a senior partner and member of the investment committee. The German head, Peter Hammerman, will stay on as the German head and investment committee member.

Paul Goodson, who has since 2005 led the UK business had been involved in the  early discussions with Barclays about the spin-out of the business, will be leaving BPE to pursue other interests, but will remain co-head and managing director for the UK until the first close of Fund IV.

Goodson will be replaced at the top of the UK business by Rob Myers, a senior partner and the deal-maker responsible for the firm’s successful investment in Deb Group, which was exited earlier this year for a 5.7x money multiple in a sale to Charterhouse Capital Partners for £325 million (€384 million; $521 million).

Post spin-out the management board will comprise Jacqueau and Myers as well as Michael Bork, a senior partner based in Munich, and Owen Clarke, a London-based partner who also fills the newly created role of chief investment officer. Christiian Marriott, who has spearheaded the firm’s investor relations since 2007, will sit on the management board in an observational capacity.

London-based Tom Lamb, who has been with the firm for 25 years and currently chairs the investment committee, will retire, following plans laid out when Fund III was raised in 2007.

Dominic Geer, a director in the London office who had focused on the financial services sector, will also leave the firm following a decision to take time out from the City, while John Walker, a Manchester-based partner, will move down to London. Director Steve O’Hare will head up the Manchester investment team.

The spin-out also means big changes for the firm in Italy. BPE has had an office in Italy since 1997, but the country will not feature in the investment strategy for the next fund. The Milan office is currently manned by four staff, who will manage the four existing portfolio companies, which include stationary products business Cartorama and vending machine operator N&W Global Vending, until exit.

BPE’s planned withdrawal from the Italian market sees the departure of Milan-based managing director Emanuele Cairo, who launched and headed the Italian business, and Ruggiero Campagna, a director who joined the firm in 2000. According to market sources, the two buyout professionals left the business over the summer.

The spin-out of BPE from its parent Barclays Bank has been the subject of much industry speculation for years now. The firm, which comes under the umbrella of investment banking division Barclays Capital, has been investing in the mid-market – initially in the UK and latterly across Europe – for 25 years.

BPE declined to comment.