Terra Firma taps former Citi banker as CEO

Former ANZ and Lloyds exec Andrew Géczy, who was Citi’s global head of structured corporate finance until 2005, will step into the new-look management team.

Private equity firm Terra Firma has found a new chief executive officer: Andrew Géczy, a veteran of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Lloyds Banking Group and Citigroup.

Géczy has been responsible for “the formulation and implementation of corporate strategies across a range of businesses, as well as talent and organisational development”, Terra Firma said in a statement this morning.

The role of CEO was vacated in March this year when Tim Pryce, who has been with the firm since its inception, stepped back from the role. Pryce remains at the firm as a managing director and member of the firm's management committee.

The leadership team at Terra Firma has undergone a significant transformation in the last two years. After some high profile departures in 2014 the firm has brought in some experienced hands, as it pushes beyond conventional private equity into direct lending and direct secondaries investing.

Earlier this year, the firm added three further managing directors to its bench. Alex Williams joined from energy specialist First Reserve, Jyrki Lee Korhonen joined from northern European firm Triton Advisers and Michele Russo, a veteran of both Doughty Hanson and Lazard, joined having previously established his own GP in Milan, Opera Private Equity, to execute direct secondaries transactions.

These three hires came after Justin King, well-known in the corporate world for his turnaround of supermarket group Sainsburys, joined the firm in late 2015 as vice-chairman and head of portfolio businesses.

King recently told PEI that the movement within the team was part of a generation change that will help position the firm its next incarnation. “If you look back at the departures, they left having made a tremendous amount of money as a result of the success of the business over many, many years,” King said in late May.

Other senior team members on the operational side have moved onward and upward to advisory roles at portfolio companies, such as Robbie Barr, who was recently appointed as chairman of Four Seasons Healthcare, or Ingmar Wilhelm, who is chairman of Italian solar energy business, RTR.?

What the firm is doing now, said King, is “recruiting people who want to be with us for the next 10 years”.

Commenting on Géczy’s appointment, Terra Firma’s founder and CIO Guy Hands said: “I am confident that he will harness the tremendous talent which we have at Terra Firma as we transform the businesses we own, seek new opportunities for investment and deliver value for our investors.”

In June Terra Firma gave up a dramatic long-running legal pursuit of Citigroup, which the firm blamed for its ill-fated investment in music business EMI.

Géczy will start at the firm in September.