Private equity’s new champion

Mark Florman’s focus is shifting from Africa to the BVCA

The UK lobbying group the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (BVCA) unveiled its new chief executive in January. Simon Walker, whose planned departure was revealed in August 2010 by PEI, is Mark Florman, a former Doughty Hanson professional who until recently was spearheading an ambitious African venture.

Florman had been working alongside musician-turned-philanthropist Bob Geldof to launch an Africa-focused fund called 8 Miles. According to documents from the International Finance Corporation, which had been considering a commitment to the fund last year, Florman would be the manager of the fund, which has an ambitious fundraising target of $750 million. The fund is understood to have attracted capital from a number of development finance institutions, but has yet to hold a first close.

Following Florman’s appointment as the new chief executive of the BVCA, 8 Miles is being led by managing partner Nathan Mintah, although it is unclear how long Mintah has been at the firm. In an emailed statement, Mintah – a former partner at Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management in Johannesburg – said he looked forward to Florman’s continuing role with 8 Miles as non-executive vice-chairman.

Commenting on his new role at the BVCA, Florman said in a statement: “I believe that a sustained recovery requires the UK to develop its venture capital sector further and to support its entrepreneurs. The BVCA and its members are central to these efforts.”