Senior partner quits Apax

Toby Wyles, head of Apax Partners’ leveraged transactions group in London, is to leave the firm after 13 years.

Toby Wyles, head of Apax Partner’s leveraged transactions group in London and one of the most senior figures in the group’s European buyout business, has resigned from after thirteen years. Wyles is to remain with the firm until May 2003, the company said.

Apax director Steven Green will be replacing Wyles as head of the firm’s UK buyout team. Green will report to partner Michael Phillips, who will become global head. Wyles will continue to be a member of the boards of portfolio companies Global Refund and Merlin Entertainment.

While with the firm, Wyles was involved in leading some of its biggest transactions, including the $2bn buyout of BT’s yellow pages business, Yell, alongside with Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst. Most recently he led the team that acquired a stake in UK DIY retail chain Focus Wickes from Duke Street Capital.

Commenting on his decision to leave the firm, Wyles told PrivateEquityOnline: 'I have been thinking about leaving Apax for the past couple of months. I have been here 13 years and what I really like doing is working on deals. Managing people doesn't really switch me on.'

On his short term plans, he said: 'I will work my six months notice to May. Then, I am going to take the summer off. After that, I want to stay close to the private equity business, but I wouldn't want to go to a competitor. So, I will see what props up.'

Earlier this year, Apax was part of a consortium bidding for Houghton Mifflin, the US educational publishing business owned by Vivendi Universal, but withdrew from the bidding in November. In May, the firm was a frontrunner in the £800m race to acquire NCP, the car park group, but was beaten to the post by rival Cinven, which staged a late comeback during the auction process and submitted the winning bid at the 11th hour.     

Prior to joining Apax in 1990, Wyles worked as a consultant with the LEK Partnership, where he was involved in projects in the consumer products and financial services industries. He also worked briefly in the mergers and acquisitions department at Morgan Stanley.