David Currie, a 33 year veteran of the private equity industry and the current chief executive of SL Capital Partners, will retire at the end of the September.
He will be replaced at the head of the fund of funds manager by Peter McKellar and Craig Williamson, who take on the newly-created role of 'co-ordinating partner'. They will oversee a partnership group of seven individuals (excluding the outgoing Currie), who have on average 11 years of experience at the firm. Currie confirmed the firm would look to expand the partnership group in due course.
McKellar and Williamson's promotions are effective immediately, with Currie becoming senior partner until his retirement in September. McKellar was previously the firm's chief investment officer.
Currie's career began at 3i Group in 1979, where he worked for nine years. He then moved to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, where he was responsible for its European private equity investments. After seven years at ADIA, he joined Standard Life in 1998, where he became the founding partner of SL Capital Partners.
In retirement, Currie plans to undertake charity work, as well as indulging a passion for history. He is also mulling becoming a business angel, Currie said in an interview.
He explained the decision to retire: “There's a cycle of fundraising and you have to plan to be around for all or most of the investment period of a new fund. Our last major fund is pretty well committed, and could potentially be fully deployed by year end. We are raising new capital, so it seemed like a sensible time to bow out.”
“It's been a fantastic journey – I've been in private equity since before the term was coined. When I started, 3i was investing maybe £100 million a year. Now it does that in a single deal. I was fortunate to join at a time when management buyouts were coming into vogue and the opportunity in Europe was developing.”
“Low points were experiencing an investment that went bad, and having to appoint receivers. It was a humbling experience. For me, my early career was a great training ground, where you could do lots of small deals and learn from your mistakes, without substantial losses being incurred. One of the things we diligence today when we look at investing in funds is do the younger executives really have this type of experience?”