Graeme White, managing director and head of Barclays Private Equity, has died after an 11-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He passed away peacefully and surrounded by his family at his London home on March 4th. He was 51 years old.
Over the past seven years, White made an important contribution to his firm's ascent to the ranks of leading private equity groups in the European mid-market. His former colleagues attribute much of their partnership's recent development to his leadership. It was during his tenure that a stable team of executives emerged, individuals who have now been working together for an average of nine and a half years.
Having graduated in economics from Manchester University, White began his career by qualifying as a chartered accountant and gaining experience of management consultancy with Arthur Andersen. He later moved to 3i's London office as local director responsible for the firm's management buy-in activity.
White joined Barclays in 1990 and became head of private equity in 1997. He led a number of high profile transactions, including the €283 million buyout of fashion retailer New Look in 1995, and the €31 million MBO of Leyland Trucks in 1998. In addition, he chaired Barclays Private Equity's European Management Committee.
White also played a significant role in the growth of the group's activities in continental Europe. He led its expansion into foreign markets, overseeing the opening of an Italian office in 1997 and a German office the following year, and helped to bolster the firm's presence in the UK and France. Barclays now has a total of 27 investment professionals in the UK, 10 in France, six in Germany and four in Italy.
White also pushed the development of the firm's infrastructure team, which closed three funds totalling more than £550 million in 2003 to 2004 and today comprises 9 investment professionals.
In 2002, Barclays Private Equity closed its first third party fund, raising a large portion of the fund's €1.25 billion from outside sources despite being relatively unknown to institutional investors at the time. In February this year, the firm announced a close of €1.65 billion for its latest fund less than two months after fundraising had begun. The speed with which the money was raised is a testament to the strength of Barclays' team and to the progress the firm has made under White's leadership.
In his spare time he enjoyed playing golf and was a keen rugby fan, supporting the Scottish national team. His other passions included his Aston Martin sports car and spending time in Portugal, where he had recently built a villa (next to a golf course, naturally). He is survived by his wife, Sally, and their four children, Sara, William, Freddie and Isabella.
In a recent letter to people who knew Barclays Private Equity, managing director Tom Lamb wrote of his former colleague: “Graeme was highly respected as an extremely capable operator both within the Barclays Group and the wider business community. Under his leadership, Barclays Private Equity has gone from strength to strength. His achievements were based on sound judgement, integrity, honesty – with himself as well as others – and old-fashioned hard work.
“Above all he was a thoroughly nice guy and charming company, in or out of the office, and was truly one of nature's gentlemen. His competitive spirit and strong will to win never overshadowed his sense of fair play. We shall miss him deeply as a colleague and a friend.”
The funeral took place on Monday March 14th; a memorial service is currently being arranged. White's family, colleagues and friends invite donations to the Ralph Bates Pancreatic Research Fund, which can be reached on +44 1582 576 100.
BREBAN QUITS WATSON WYATT
Stephen Breban, a senior consultant and partner in the London office of actuarial and investment consultancy Watson Wyatt, has left the firm to found his own private equity consultancy. City Capital Partners will be a London-based firm advising investors in fund of funds and large buy-out funds. Breban said he was hoping to capitalise on the growing demand for specialist consulting in private equity from pension funds and European and US institutional investors. Breban's departure is the third from the firm's UK private equity practice in recent months. Late last year, Brian Lim left to join Actis, the emerging markets investor and Paul Wharton also left in December.
A&M APPOINTS HEAD OF OPERATIONS IN GERMANY, CEE
Turnaround specialist Alvarez & Marsal has announced the appointment of US-based Peter Briggs to head up the firm's corporate restructuring and crisis management operations in Germany and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Formerly operating out of the US, Briggs will be based in the firm's Frankfurt office, which opened in 2003. Prior to joining A&M, Briggs spent 16 years with Citigroup including working as senior credit officer to the firm's US leveraged finance portfolio.
INDUSTRI KAPITAL RINGS EUROPEAN CHANGES
The continental European midmarket buyout house, has added two partners to its senior management group and has also promoted three team members to partner. French national Christopher Masek, the partner responsible for the firm's activities in France and Detlef Dinsel, a German national responsible for the firm's German activities become senior management. The four existing members of the management group are all of Scandinavian origin; chairman and CEO Bjorn Saven, chief executive for Western Europe Gustav Ohman, Kim Wahl and Michel Rosenlew. In addition, the firm is promoting three of its team members to partner: Trygve Grindheim, a Norwegian national, who has been with the firm since 1997, Dutchman Kristiaan Nieuwenburg who joined the firm in 1999 from Lehman Brothers and James Yates, a British national.
PORTER HIRED FOR MIZUHO PE PUSH
David Porter, who spent ten years at the London office of Japan's Nomura International, is launching a new London-based private equity operation at Mizuho Securities, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mizuho Financial Group, the Japanese financial services firm. Porter spent ten years at Nomura and four years ago, became head of a new private equity unit focusing on leveraged buyouts, mid-market deals and venture investments in the healthcare sector. Porter hopes to build a five strong team within a year and will report in his new role to Sam Barwick, Mizuho International managing director.
MOEREL SWAPS CARLYLE FOR ALPINVEST
The giant Netherlands-headquartered LP has boosted its secondary fund investments team with the hire of Dutch national Wouter Moerel as a principal from Carlyle's European buyout team. Moerel joined Carlyle in February 2001 as a director of the €730 million ($972 million) Carlyle European Venture Partners (CEVP) fund, focussing on the telecommunications services sector. At AlpInvest, Moerel will be a member of the eight-strong secondary fund investments team led by New York-based principal Tjarko Hektor. Moerel joins Niels Kok as partner in the Amsterdam office, which earlier this year recruited Benjamin Rouillard-Revillon as an associate.
TA ASSOCIATES HIRES LONDON VP
Boston-headquartered buyout firm TA Associates has announced the appointment of Christian Gruenwald as a vice president in its recently formed London office.
The firm, which also has an office in Menlo Park, California, opened the London office in 2003, which is currently staffed by director Ajit Nedungadi and two associates. Most recently, Gruenwald worked in the German office of General Atlantic Partners, specialising in buyouts, minority investments and PIPEs in the technology, business and financial services sectors. At TA Associates, Gruenwald will support the firm's expansion in Europe, focusing on growth equity capital, leveraged recapitalisations and management.