Standard Bank’s former PE chief resurfaces at RIT

Graham Thomas, who left Standard Bank in July when the South African lender was scaling back its principal investing business, has joined UK-listed RIT Capital Partners.

Graham Thomas, former head of Standard Bank’s private equity division, has joined RIT Capital Partners as the head of private equity. Thomas left Standard Bank in July and will work out of UK-listed investment trust RIT’s London headquarters.

Thomas joined Standard Bank in 2008 from buyout firm MidOcean Partners, where he was a founding partner. Before joining Deutsche Bank, from which MidOcean spun out in 2003, he was a founding member of Goldman Sachs’ communications, media and technology practice in Europe, having joined the bank in 1993.

Thomas’ departure from Standard came at a time when a number of high-profile executives were leaving the South African lender. Marcelo di Lorenzo, the former head of Standard Bank's Brazil-based private equity team, also announced his resignation in July, as did former deputy global head at Standard, Bilge Ogut. Both Ogut and di Lorenzo were high-level appointments made by Thomas last year as the bank sought to enlarge its private equity division.

“In line with Standard Bank’s focused strategy, we continue to scale back our principal investing business,” the bank said at the time of Thomas’ departure.

Thomas was not available for comment at press time.

RIT has assets of £1.9 billion (€2.2 billion $3 billion) and has an 11.7 percent allocation to private equity, according to sister data provider Private Equity Connect. Backed by Lord Jacob Rothschild, the firm has invested in managers such as Darwin Private Equity and venture firm Blumberg Capital, and targets sectors such as technology, consumer goods and healthcare.

RIT is currently targeting $750 million for its RIT Capital Partners Chinese Investor Fund, which “for the first time… will enable Chinese private sector onshore money to invest overseas through a private equity fund”, the firm said in a statement in April.