Vista appoints Breach as president, replaces Sheth

Details of COO David Breach's appointment to the role were disclosed in a letter to investors seen by Private Equity International.

Vista Equity Partners, the seventh-ranked firm according to the PEI 300, has appointed its newest president following last year’s departure of co-founder and former president Brian Sheth.

Senior managing director David Breach, who has been with the firm since 2014, has been appointed president by the executive committee “in recognition of a role he has been performing for years”, according to a letter to be sent to investors, seen by Private Equity International.

Vista’s David Breach

Breach will retain his chief operating officer title and will continue as a member of the firm’s executive and private equity committees, according to the letter. He had previously been the firm’s chief legal officer.

The appointment comes roughly 10 months after chairman and chief executive Robert Smith’s tax matter. Sheth had departed the firm at the end of last year, following Smith reaching a settlement with the US Department of Justice.

Sheth told Forbes at the time of his departure that his decision was personally motivated and unrelated to Smith’s settlement.

The Austin-headquartered software specialist is investing its seventh flagship programme, Vista Equity Partners VII, which raised more than $17 billion in 2019, according to PEI data. LPs in that fund include the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, CPP Investments, New York City Employees’ Retirement System and Oregon State Treasury.

The firm also has mid-cap Foundation, small-cap Endeavor, credit, long-duration and public equity strategies.

Breach, who spent 14 years as a partner at law firm Kirkland & Ellis, has focused on building the firm’s core infrastructure, including operating and administrative functions, in addition to other firmwide initiatives in areas such as legal and ESG governance. He has been at the forefront of scaling Vista’s standard operating principles, a key element of its success, according to a former senior officer at a Vista LP.

“When [Breach] joined, that was the beginning of ‘modern Vista’,” said a managing director at another LP that has backed Vista funds. “That’s when they started investing in a lot of the operational elements.”

In the seven years he has been with the firm, assets under management have grown from approximately $16 billion to $77 billion, according to the letter, representing a 381 percent growth. Vista has raised $45 billion across its investment platforms, deployed $41 billion, and returned $32 billion across its private equity funds.

Breach’s promotion comes on the heels of another senior appointment: last month the firm hired Shelby Wanstrath, former co-head of private equity funds at the $176.9 billion Teacher Retirement System of Texas, as PEI reported. Wanstrath, who joins to be joining as a managing director of corporate growth initiatives, will report to Breach.

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.