Vision Capital strengthens operations, hires 4

The London-based firm has strengthened its bench after its seventh fund dramatically increased its AUM this year.

London investment firm Vision Capital has brought on four more professionals, including two key back office hires: Steven Whitaker of international hedge fund Brevan Howard as chief financial officer, and Andrew Lobb of Icelandic investment firm Baugur Group as the firm’s first general counsel. Johan Van de Steen joins from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts as the firm’s first operating partner, and Matt Schafer joins from Nomura International as a principal specialising in debt structuring.

The firm specialises in buying portfolios of companies from conglomerates, financial institutions and private equity firms. In February, the firm raised €680 million for its seventh fund, which was almost doubled the size of its €350 million 2006 predecessor.

At Brevan Howard, Whitaker was head of finance. Before, he spent 10 years at 3i in London. He began his career at KPMG where he trained and qualified as a chartered accountant.

Lobb was managing director of legal and operations at Baugur Group, which applied for bankruptcy protection in February. Before, he specialised in private equity at law firm SJ Berwin. As Vision Capital’s first in-house general counsel, he will focus on legal -ordination on transactions, internal matters and the increasingly important area of regulation.

At KKR, Van de Steen was a member of the firm’s Capstone programme, which provides operations consulting for KKR portfolio companies. While there, he served on the boards of KKR portfolio companies  Alliance Boots, NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductors), Van Gansewinkel, Selenia, ATU and Tenovis. Before joining KKR he was chief executive officer of a technology company, DigitalRUM, and worked at McKinsey & Company in London and at Siemens Communications.

Schafer will focus on structuring and negotiating financing packages for both new investments and existing portfolio companies. He worked in the leveraged finance business of Lehman Brothers Europe, which was bought by Nomura International after Lehman collapsed. Before Lehman, he worked in the financial sponsor and leveraged finance group at CIBC World Markets.