Advent adds ex-Fiat CEO as operating partner

Paolo Cantarella joins the 50-some operating partners who advise the global midmarket firm. The former Fiat chief currently is a non-executive director of Italian private equity real estate firm Inpartner and Italian utilities firm Iride.

Advent International has augmented its stable of operating partners with Paolo Cantarella, the former chief executive of Italian automaker Fiat.

Cantarella led Fiat from 1996 to 2002 and has held other positions including president of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association and director on the organising committee for the 2006 Olympic Games held in Turin.

He is currently a director of Polaroid, a multinational company best known for its camera products, and a non-executive director for Iride, an Italian utilities conglomerate, as well as Inpartner, an Italian private equity real estate company.

Paolo Cantarella

At Advent, Cantarella will join more than 50 operating partners who advise and assist the firm on deals, 14 of whom focus on the industrials sectors.

Conor Boden, Advent’s head of portfolio board development, said in a statement that the firm’s large network of operating partners will “be increasingly relevant in these challenging market conditions” necessitating operational expertise at the portfolio company level.

The firm’s recent industrial deals include two exits. In August, Advent sold Axtone, Europe’s largest rail freight buffer manufacturer, to European private equity firm IK Investment Partners. And in December, the firm sold Bolix, a Polish paint and insulation company, to Indian paint manufacturer Berger Paints. No financial details were disclosed for either deal, though media reports pegged the Bolix deal at $38 million.