BVCA names communications veteran as chief executive

The search for a new chief executive has ended with the appointment of Simon Walker, a communications specialist and one time secretary to HM The Queen. He is also an adviser to the government on red-tape reduction.

Simon Walker is joining The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, as its chief executive at the beginning of November. His appointment ends the uncertainty since his predeccessor Peter Linthwaite resigned after a mauling in front of the UK Treasury Select Committee this summer.

Simon Walker

Walker is currently senior adviser to the chairman and chief executive of the Reuters Group, where he has worked since 2003. He skills as a communicator will be put to the test as the industry body lobbies on behalf of the disparate constituencies it represents, while politicians look to increase private equity's tax bill.

He is also a member of the Better Regulation Commission, an independent body established by the government in 2005. Its role includes vetting departmental plans to reduce red tape.

His appointment coincides with the industry's own attempt to stave off regulatory scrutiny with a voluntary code of governance to increase disclosure and transparency under the aegis of the BVCA chief executive's namesake Sir David Walker.

Before Reuters, Walker's career included spells as communications secretary to HM The Queen, director of corporate affairs at British Airways, and a member of the Downing Street Policy Unit.  He was also a partner at Brunswick, the communications consultancy.

Wol Kolade, BVCA Chairman, said: “With his background in campaigning, journalism, Whitehall and Brussels and his broad experience of communications at some of the highest profile institutions and companies in Britain, he has got just the mix of skills that we were looking for.”  

The BVCA chief executive selection committee comprised Wol Kolade, BVCA chairman, and managing partner at ISIS EP,  Jeremy Hand of Lyceum Capital Partners,  Simon Havers of Baird Capital Partners Europe, Lord Hollick of KKR, Andrew Joy of Cinven and Jo Taylor of 3i.