Return to search

Advent's talent wrangler

The global private equity firm has created a new role dedicated exclusively to creating and managing relationships with operating talent.

Advent International last month announced the creation of a new position that will focus on building and upgrading the firm's network of operational talent: head of portfolio board management. The firm appointed Conor Boden to the role, formerly of the UK-based 3i Group, where he acted in a similar capacity.

Boden will be responsible for expanding Boston-based Advent's existing operating-partner program, in which experienced industrialists and operating partners collaborate with Advent through the entire investment cycle, from sourcing opportunities through to value creation. He will also be responsible for setting up and managing a broader network of chairmen, non-executive directors and CEOs. The program currently includes 50 high-level industrialists, many of whom have been involved in multiple investments with the firm. Boden will be based in the London office and report to John Singer, chairman of the firm's European operations.

Prior to joining Advent, Boden spent nine years at 3i where he was responsible for the development and management of a group of executive chairmen and industrialists for 3i's European buyout business. Earlier in his tenure at the firm, he headed 3i's CEO program. He has also held senior marketing positions at Andersen, Linklaters and Mercer Management Consulting.

?It's really about business development,? explains Boden. ?I'll be working with colleagues to identify top performers in a variety of industries, develop the right terms for their engagement and explain the value proposition for teaming up with us.?

Part of his case will stress Advent's reputation for operationally driven returns, strong sector focus and an understated culture that stresses team performance over individual stars. ?I think that will resonate with plenty of corporate executives,? he says.

In addition to reaching out to new contacts, Boden will be looking at better ways to tap Advent's existing relationships. ?The firm has a robust network already,? Boden explains. ?My first priority is to discern the best ways to use the talent we already know, properly matching individuals to opportunities.?

He notes that in certain cases the right manager can provide a proprietary angle when sourcing a deal. Boden will coordinate his efforts with deal professionals to address talent needs at current or potential investments. ?Maybe there's already an operating partner we know that can step in to fill a gap at an existing portfolio company,? he says. If there's no executive already within their network, Boden will work with executive search firms, intermediaries and conduct his own hunt to find the right fit.

According to Boden, Advent created the position as part of a broader expansion of the firm's activities. ?We're looking at larger, more complex deals, over a wider geographic spread so the firm wants to institutionalize how it sources and uses its operating talent,? he says. He views one of the chief competitors for top managerial talent as multinational corporations who are emulating private equity. ?In some ways they're starting to plot strategy along a private equity cycle of finite, four to five year projects with incentive programs to match,? he says.

He knows other private equity firms are vying for operational talent as well but Advent enjoys a reputation for valuing the contribution of their operating partners. ?In some ways, my hire is the latest example of the firm making operational talent a real priority,? he adds.

Boden will be focusing his efforts in Europe, though he will also be in close contact with Advent deal professionals in North America to develop best practices for working with operating partners and other industrial talent that can be applied throughout the firm, which has offices located in Asia and Latin America as well.

?That was really the appeal of making the move from 3i,? Boden explains. ?While I was there, I was operating as part of an existing framework, but here I get to design the role from scratch, at a firm that has no shortage of high caliber talent to work with.? For the time being, Boden has no other staff supporting his efforts. ?At the moment, it's about fact-finding and determining what the role can, and should be.?

Boden's performance will be gauged though a mix of soft and hard metrics though he hopes there will be plenty of tangible evidence of his value. ?If the operating partners that colleagues and I work with deliver more deals, better performing portfolio companies and greater returns, I think my contribution will be fairly evident.?

Germany speeds up approval process
A recent amendment to the German Investment Act limits the regulator's window for approving fund rules for domestic investment management companies to four weeks. No explicit time window was contained in the German Investment Act prior to the amendment. As before, the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) is required to approve fund rules if they comply with applicable statutory provisions. If BaFin does not issue a decision or a request for missing documents within the four-week window, approval is automatically granted. The regulator must provide written confirmation of the approval if requested. Further, with respect to UCITS-compliant funds, if the fund rules do not differ from a model set of rules pre-approved by BaFin, no separate approval from BaFin or waiting period is required. In this case, BaFin must still be notified of the fund or sub-fund's launch and provided with the rules, as well as the appropriate simplified and full prospectuses.

Ed Trissel called in for Lone Star crises
Ed Trissel of public relations firm Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher looks to be private equity's new go-to guy for a crisis. Trissel has been handling Lone Star Funds' legal battles in South Korea for some time now, and also represented Lone Star in its tumultuous acquisition of Accredited Home Lenders, which resulted in Accredited suing Lone Star after the Texas firm tried to back out of the deal. Now Trissel has been called in by Warburg Pincus as a recent acquisition, MBIA Insurance, plummets in value and teeters on the edge of default. Trissel, who previously founded corporate communications firm Vistance Group, has helped out distressed firms in other industries as well during the course of his career. He represented the American Iron and Steel Institute after the repeal of the Section 201 steel tariff import, the NASDAQ stock market amid rumors of a possible merger with the New York Stock Exchange, and Applied Materials and Spherion Corporation while the company underwent a management shake-up.

Baird hires first IR head
Baird Private Equity has hired Aaron Rudberg to the newly created position of director of investor relations. Rudberg will manage Baird's relationships with current and prospective investors in the US and abroad, as well as oversee the firm's communication, sales and marketing activities. He will also be involved in broader strategic and new product development initiatives. ?I look forward to building broader recognition for Baird Private Equity's distinctive approach in the marketplace and increasing investors' appreciation of our unique global platform and the value we create for them,? Rudberg said in a statement. Rudberg comes to Baird from Muller & Monroe, a Chicago-based private equity fund-of-funds where Rudberg was a principal for three years. He was a member of the firm's investment team and also helped manage the firm's investor relationships. Prior to Muller & Monroe, Rudberg spent time with two venture capital firms and was director of marketing at a venture-backed software company.

CPP lobbies for US exemption
The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is urging US policy makers to exempt foreign pension plans from a new set of regulations, mandated last year, that would subject mergers and acquisitions of US companies by entities controlled by foreign governments to more rigorous review. Investment officers at the C$121.3 billion ($120.3 billion) Canada Pension Plan said they fear the rules would place them at a disadvantage when competing for US investments.