Former Actis partner re-joins CDC

Mark Pay has re-joined CDC Group after eight years away, which included a long stint as a partner at Actis. At CDC he will spearhead the firm’s new direct investment strategy.

Eight months after announcing plans to begin making direct investments in addition to its traditional fund commitments, UK state-backed development finance institution CDC Group has re-hired a former executive to lead the newly-created unit.

Mark Pay, who first joined CDC in 1999, has re-joined the firm as a managing director. Pay will head the firm’s direct investments team as it seeks direct exposure to emerging market deals. A spokeswoman for CDC said the firm would look to hire more professionals to fill out the direct investments team over the course of the year.

His arrival comes three months after the firm appointed Diana Noble as chief executive to oversee its broader investment strategy.

Earlier in his career, Pay spent five years at CDC between 1999 and 2004, before moving to Actis when the firm spun out of CDC. He left Actis 18 months ago, according to a spokesman for the firm. It is unclear how he has spent the time between then and re-joining CDC.

At Actis, he was a partner and member of the investment committee, and was based in London. His specific focus there was on African investments, although he also oversaw deals in China. Before his initial stint at CDC he worked in retail and investment banking at Barclays and BZW, which included a secondment to Baronsmead Private Equity Managers.

CDC’s new strategy was launched in June last year, with a focus on direct investments being the most notable aspect. Traditionally, CDC has gained exposure to emerging markets by investing in funds rather than making direct investments.

The firm’s chief executive Diana Noble said in a statement: “Mark brings huge experience of investing in low-income countries to achieve development outcomes. The new division will complement CDC’s fund investments and deepen the reach of our capital so it’s targeted where it can have the maximum possible development impact.”

The firm has also appointed a credit analyst, Bradley Smith, to strengthen its debt team.