When we launched our inaugural New Faces of Finance list last year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Private Funds CFO New York Forum, we sought to highlight the up-and-coming finance professionals that would help to guide the private equity industry through the next two decades.
A year later, the private markets are facing down some of the toughest macroeconomic challenges in recent history, and the need for innovative, plugged-in young finance professionals is greater than ever.
Nominations came from all over the industry, with the list decided based on three main criteria:
- Evidence of leadership and innovation.
- The caliber of the firms they have worked with and any developments they were crucial in bringing about.
- Whether they possess an ‘X factor’ that marks them out as a future leader in private funds finance.
To be eligible, all nominees had to be under the age of 40 on January 31, 2024.
This year’s listees range from 31-year-old Ivor van Esch, chief financial and compliance officer at mid-market growth investment firm Knox Lane, who is described as “a talent beyond his years,” to Ellen Köhler, CFO for Verdane’s in-house operating team, Elevate.
Every one of this year’s honorees showcases how the private funds industry is developing its finance talent.
But, as always, all listees deserve full credit for their own talent and hard work.
Another such example of excellence from this year’s list is Matt Swatt, managing co-chief accounting officer, co-treasurer and co-controller at Blue Owl Capital. One of the firm’s first accounting team hires, Swatt has been integral to Blue Owl’s progress since 2016, and recently established its private wealth framework to grow the platform to $18 billion in assets under management in just two years.
Read on to discover who else is on this year’s power list, and to find out more about their achievements.
Congratulations to all those nominees who were selected and sincere thanks to all those who submitted nominations.
Principal, investments, Turn/River Capital
As a principal in the investments team at San Francisco-based software investment firm Turn/River Capital, Matthew Amico is described as showing a “unique ability to identify and partner with exceptional software businesses” and supports their growth “both organically and inorganically.” He is also described as being a “trusted partner” to the CEOs and CFOs of Turn/River’s portfolio companies. During his time at the firm, 35-year-old Amico has led the firm’s investments in several software companies, including Tufin, Redwood Software, ActiveBatch, JSCAPE, Tidal, Cerberus and ActiveState, and has also served on the companies’ boards. Throughout his career at Turn/River, Amico has also worked with software companies Mailgun Technologies and Pathwire, which exited to Thoma Bravo in 2019 and subsequently to Sinch in 2021, and Huddle, which was sold to Ideagen in 2020. He began his career in the investment banking team at Goldman Sachs.
Chief investment officer, Bite Investments
Anna Barath heads up the fund sourcing, selection, due diligence and monitoring processes at investment management software provider Bite Investments, and her work spans across asset classes. She joined Bite in 2021 from KIC, the sovereign wealth fund of South Korea, where she was a senior investment manager allocating to private equity and credit across funds and co-investments. Prior to KIC, she worked in the private markets team of the UK’s Universities Superannuation Scheme. Barath created Bite’s first ever interval fund, which allows for high-net-worth individuals and wealth managers to take on a fully deployed portfolio with no capital calls or multi-year commitments. The 35-year-old also plays a pivotal role in developing responsible investment policies with a focus on diversity and inclusion and corporate social responsibility. In 2023, Barath was named as one of affiliate title Private Equity International’s Women of Influence in Private Markets, a list recognizing female leaders within the industry.
Chief operating officer, Vector AIS
Kristina Dayback is described as having made “transformative” contributions to the team since joining fund administrator Vector AIS as chief operating officer in 2023. In particular, she is credited with fine-tuning the firm’s proprietary software Valence, which contains a precision general ledger, a limited partner portal and a GP portal. She is also praised by colleagues for her forward-thinking leadership and her ‘X-factor’ in nurturing the next generation of finance professionals. The firm adds that Dayback’s impact at the firm is “undeniable,” citing her contributions to the growth of the platform and improving its accuracy and efficiency. With such skills being in high demand across the fund administration industry, Dayback’s commitment to innovation and leadership is well-recognized by her peers. Prior to joining Vector, 37-year-old Dayback held roles at fund administrators Carta and VMS.
Global head of human resources, TPG
A former PEI Future 40 listee, global head of human resources Anna Edwin is a leading light in the operational division of TPG. With responsibility for more than 1,800 people working at the firm, Edwin has oversight of all human resources efforts and functions. The 38-year-old was instrumental in expanding the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion council, which is made up of 17 partners across the firm’s global officers. She also led efforts to create TPG’s 360 review process, whereby employees of all levels can provide feedback to each other and also evaluate the effectiveness of their managers. Edwin oversees TPG’s pipeline review program for senior leadership positions to increase diverse representation at all levels and improve retention of high potential senior employees – a critical role in the everyday running of a modern private markets firm. Edwin previously worked at BlackRock, where she was responsible for the firm’s executive leadership program as head of leadership development.
Chief compliance officer, NovaQuest Capital Management
Devin Holden is responsible for overseeing compliance activities at life sciences and healthcare-focused investment firm NovaQuest Capital Management. Alongside her day-to-day responsibilities at the firm, Holden also heads up the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. Prior to joining NovaQuest in 2021, 34-year-old Holden served as the compliance specialist for boutique investment firm Chartwell Investment Partners, and previously led the operational due diligence efforts at Hamilton Lane. She also conducted operational due diligence at Strategic Investment Group and began her career in the assurance practice at EY.
Chief financial officer, Verdane’s Elevate platform
As CFO for Elevate, the in-house operating team at European growth equity firm Verdane, Ellen Köhler supports the firm’s portfolio companies in becoming more data-driven and building strategic finance functions to drive growth throughout the organization. Since joining Verdane’s Berlin office in 2022, she has been tasked with connecting finance professionals within Verdane’s ecosystem to leverage knowledge and share best practices. Another former PEI Future 40 2023 listee, 39-year-old Köhler was described as “an expert in building scalable finance functions” and was credited as the mastermind behind the firm’s ‘Flow’ project, which aims to improve the financial reporting process across the Verdane portfolio. According to the firm, she also streamlined the firm’s financial and tax due diligence processes, as well as handling those respective processes for several Verdane investments. Before joining Verdane, she was CFO at a Berlin-based advertising technology company, where she gained experience in governance, risk and compliance consultancy as well as in process assurance and auditing.
Managing director, co-chief accounting officer, co-treasurer and co-controller, Blue Owl Capital (Credit)
Since joining Blue Owl in 2016 as the second hire for its accounting team, Swatt has been instrumental in the growth of its credit platform, which the firm says is worth nearly $80 billion today. The firm says his “grit, hustle and determination to build a best-in-class middle- and back-office infrastructure during Blue Owl’s early days has been integral to the success of the firm today.” More recently, he helped to establish the framework to allow Blue Owl’s private wealth platform to grow to more than $18 billion in assets in just two years. The firm says that his work in this area has helped to democratize exposure to private credit to a broader base of investors. Beyond his professional work, Swatt is credited as being an active participant in Blue Owl’s global employee volunteerism and community engagement programs.
Chief financial officer and managing director, Butterfly Equity
Elected to the role of CFO in late 2023, Peter Tang oversees all aspects of Los Angeles-based private equity firm Butterfly’s financial activities and leads the firm’s strategic and growth initiatives. Prior to his appointment as CFO, he was one of the first members of the investment team and has played a key role in several of Butterfly’s investments, including beverage company Bolthouse Farms, ocean farming business Pacifico Aquaculture and egg farming company Pete & Gerry’s. One of the youngest people on this list, aged just 33, Tang serves on the board of directors of Pacifico Aquaculture and the Butterfly Equity Foundation. He previously worked on the consumer retail private equity team at KKR.
Investment director, 17Capital
It’s been a busy couple of years for Michael Timms. As an investment director at fund finance specialty provider 17Capital, he is responsible for sourcing, underwriting and executing preferred equity and NAV loan facilities for private equity management companies, funds and investors. Since joining in 2021, the firm says that Timms has sourced, led and/or executed investments representing more than $1 billion in capital. Indeed, in 2023 he led a $312 million preferred equity investment with a family office in the US, which allowed the firm to generate substantial liquidity against its private markets portfolio. The firm says that 38-year-old Timms “has built a reputation for rigorous investment acumen and creative structuring, enabling him to drive win-win outcomes for 17Capital’s investors and private equity firm clients.” He is also praised for his efforts to build out the firm’s relationships with top US investors, as well as helping to build out the firm’s New York-based investment team.
Ivor van Esch
Chief financial and compliance officer, Knox Lane
The youngest person to make this year’s list, 31-year-old Ivor van Esch joined Knox Lane, a San Francisco-headquartered mid-market growth investment firm, as chief financial and compliance officer in 2021. Alongside his traditional finance role, van Esch champions the firm’s ESG and DE&I initiatives. He is described by the firm as “a talent beyond his years” who is “leading the way for the next generation of CFOs within the business.” He is also credited for his “ability to look clearly downfield,” as well as for his leadership and technical skills. Before joining Knox Lane, van Esch served as the US head of valuations and US head of investment operations for SoftBank Investment Advisers, where he oversaw the investment process, valuations, portfolio monitoring and analytics, and CFO advisory functions for the Vision Fund and SPAC vehicles. He also held roles at TPG Growth and EY.