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Triton appoints sector veteran as ESG head

The firm has hired Graeme Ardus to help its portfolio companies step up their responsible investment efforts.

Triton Partners has appointed a full-time resource to focus on environmental, social and governance issues, PEI has learnt.

Graeme Ardus, who became Triton’s head of ESG in May, is working with the firm’s portfolio companies “to help them incorporate appropriate ESG guidelines into their policies and activities”, Ardus told Private Equity International in an email.

“Responsible investing has always been a key part of Triton’s investment strategy, and I was brought in to step up that commitment and dedicate a full-time resource to it,” he said. “As committed signatories of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment, we are incorporating ESG into our investment decision-making and ownership practices.”

Ardus is also a member of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association’s (EVCA) responsible investment roundtable, a discussion group for responsible investment and ESG-issues.

Prior to joining Triton, Ardus was a global director of occupational health, safety and environment and sustainability at Amcor, a multinational packaging firm. Before that, he worked as a director of environment, health and safety and sustainability at Alcan Packaging.

He also spent 10 years working for consulting firm Environmental Resources Management, where he managed a range of environmental, health and safety projects.

It is unclear whether there was a specific trigger for Ardus' appointment. However, sources said that Triton had stepped up its internal ESG efforts after the firm was criticised in the Swedish press over its investment in elderly care group Carema.

In February 2010, Triton bought Carema from 3i Group, and invited Kohlberg Kravis Roberts into the deal. But in November 2011, the firms came under fire after Carema was accused of neglecting patients and criticised for its tax and remuneration practices.

Triton said all allegations of poor care had proved to be untrue, while in July, KKR’s Hendrik Kraft, who leads the firm’s operations in the Nordics, told PEI that KKR had “never taken one cent out of the company… There have never been any dividends, all the revenues have been reinvested”.

Triton targets mid-market buyout and special situation investments in the German and Nordic-speaking countries. Earlier this year, it closed its latest buyout fund on about €3.3 billion, well above its original target of €2.4 billion.