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Rhône Group loses senior execs amid fundraise

Three managing directors and an investor relations principal left earlier this month to start a Europe-focused PE firm.

Four senior executives at Rhône Group have left the firm as it seeks to raise €3 billion for its sixth fund.

Managing directors Gianpiero Lenza, Sébastien Mazella di Bosco and Petter Johnsson, as well as investor relations principal Vincenzo Narciso departed earlier this month to set up their own Europe-focused firm, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Rhône’s investors were informed of the departures at the firm’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, the source added. It is unclear who is taking up their posts. Rhône declined to comment.

It is also unclear what strategy the new firm is employing. Lenza, Mazella di Bosco, Johnsson and Narciso could not be reached for comment.

Bloomberg first reported on the departures.

New York-headquartered Rhône has been in market since late 2019 with its sixth buyout offering, according to PEI data. It is unclear how much the firm has raised thus far.

The mid-market PE firm, which was founded in 1996, has a “transatlantic buyout strategy” and has raised over €6 billion since inception, according to its website. Its focus sectors include business services, chemicals, consumer products, food, industrial materials, mining and shipping industries, PEI data shows. It gathered €2.6 billion on a €1.8 billion target for its fifth fund in 2015. Paris-headquartered investment firm Eurazeo picked up a 30 percent stake in Rhône in 2017.

Lenza joined Rhône in 2004 as an associate and had been MD and a member of the investment committee since 2010, according to LinkedIn. His responsibilities included business origination and sourcing, as well as assisting portfolio companies with corporate finance.

Mazella di Bosco joined Rhône in 2005 and became MD and a member of the IC in 2013. During his time at the firm, he was involved in sourcing, executing and monitoring investments in sectors including diversified industrials, packaging, aviation, business services and consumer goods. He also covers the French and Benelux markets across all verticals, according to Rhône’s website.

Johnsson joined Rhône in 2002 and became MD in 2008. He previously worked for Morgan Stanley Capital Partners.

The trio had worked on deals including Italian coffee brand illy, Spanish pool and wellness company Fluidra and aviation business Vista Global, the source noted.

Narciso joined Rhône in 2020 as an investor relations principal; he was previously MD focused on IR at Carlyle Group.