Vista taps Texas Teachers private equity co-head for new role

The role involves developing new products, enhancing fund management programmes and managing relationships with strategic partners, PEI has learned.

Vista Equity Partners, the seventh-biggest private equity firm according to the PEI 300, has hired a top executive from one of the US’s biggest institutional investors for a new role, Private Equity International has learned.

Shelby Wanstrath, co-head of private equity funds at the $176.9 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas, is set to join the Austin-headquartered tech investor, according to three sources familiar with the matter. She is understood to be joining as a managing director of corporate growth initiatives.

Wanstrath will work with Vista’s leadership on developing new products, enhancing fund management programmes and managing relationships with strategic partners, according to one of the sources.

At Texas Teachers, where she joined in 2014, she was a member of the pension’s private equity investment committee, according to a December 2020 pension document. She is also understood to have been a member of its management committee. Prior to Texas Teachers she spent five years with Partners Group focusing on private equity in London, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Texas Teachers, the 12th biggest investor in private equity according to the Global Investor 100, has about $26.3 billion-worth of private equity exposure representing about 15 percent of its overall assets under management. The pension is invested in managers including Orchid Asia‘s eighth fund, TA Associates‘ Fund XIV and Silver Lake‘s Fund VI, PEI data shows.

Scott Ramsower is the other co-head of private equity funds, while managing director Neil Randall leads the PE programme.

Vista is investing several vehicles including its 2018-vintage Vista Equity Partners VII flagship fund which beat its target to raise $17.08 billion in 2019. Texas TRS committed $150 million to that vehicle, PEI data show.

In March, a senior leader of the firm’s small-cap Endeavor Fund and another from its mid-market Foundation fund moved into senior advisory roles. The firm also promoted operating executive Rachel Arnold to senior managing director and co-head of Vista’s Endeavor Fund to work with co-head René Stewart in March.

A spokesman for Vista declined to comment. TRS Texas and Wanstrath did not return requests for comment.