The 50 most influential people in Europe

Who is shaping the industry? The question is important, because private equity, despite its becoming a more mainstream, institutionalised asset class, fundamentally remains a people's business. Private Equity International picks the people who make all the difference in European private equity.

This is not a ranking. Neither is it a list based on some sort of scoring system, designed to support claims to objectivity. (How could there be such a thing?) It isn't exhaustive, and there wasn't enough space to accommodate all of those who have distinguished themselves in European private equity.

The people included in these pages have been selected during a deliberately subjective process. It's an editor's choice, presented here in alphabetical order. As a result, you may not find all the names you expected, and you may well question the presence of others who you didn't think have done enough to be included. We do expect this list to provoke some debate, and we're keen to hear your ideas. Who did we leave out? Who should not be in?

The selection process began months ago by way of an in-house editorial meeting which led to a vast amount of conversations with participants in the market place. The question we asked ourselves and many others was: who are the people that are really shaping European private equity, either through contributions made over the course of their careers, or by being right in the thick of it today?

The question is obviously relevant. Private equity, despite the progress it is making towards becoming a more mainstream, institutionalised asset class, fundamentally remains a people's business. Just think of the endless debate surrounding key man clauses, general partner succession and the prospects of newcomers on the fundraising trail.

The complexity of the private equity investment process requires any compilation of its key decision makers to draw on a broad range of professional types. That is why you will find GPs, fund of funds managers and investors, placement agents and gatekeepers, bankers and lawyers as well as one immensely influential bureaucrat on the list.

Whether each of these groups has been given the representation it warrants is another point of debate, and some may lament for instance the relative scarcity of M&A advisers and other such powerbrokers on the list. The reason is not that we are somehow unaware of the influence that these practitioners typically exert. But we did take the view that in the current climate of caution the spotlight should mainly be on GPs and LPs. It is these two groups that in our view are the main, but not exclusive, protagonists in the ongoing – and critical – debate that will determine where private equity as an industry and asset class is headed.

Kevin Albert
Merrill Lynch (Placement agent)

Although the days of the Merrill Lynch placement team working on $25bn of private equity fund raisings in a year are past ? that was in the heady days of 2000 ? it's a good reminder of how active a group they were then. And they still are. Although the fund raising totals are naturally smaller, and the staff number has shrunk too, the Merrills placement team, led by Kevin Albert, continues to be one of the top placement agents in the business. Albert, a seasoned practitioner who joined Merrills over 20 years ago, makes a point of working on a variety of funds himself. So he will be the point person for something as sizeable (and high profile) as Guy Hands' Terra Firma II targeted at €3.5bn or something arguably more challenging as a first time or sector specific fund. And few GPs would argue with the point that, if you've got Merrills as your placement agent, more people are going to take your calls. In these tougher fundraising times (and when the competition has intensified too), expect Albert to be busy making sure his clients succeed.

Wanching Ang
Allianz Private Equity Partners (LP)

APEP is one of the results of the merging earlier this year of Allianz and Dresdner Bank's private equity activities. Primary fund investments, secondary fund activities and co-investments all fall with the unit's remit and it is headed by Helmut Wimmer who should take the credit for developing the insurance giant's asset management activities into alternative assets. The person that has caught our attention though is Wanching Ang. She now leads the team that manages the group's private equity investments. She, along with Jim Kester, has developed a strong reputation for a rigorous investment approach. The team is also evidencing a marked appetite for the asset class, and their commitments deliver a valuable message to other heayweight institutional investors in Europe who have been toying with their private equity allocations. Trail blazer? Maybe not. Benchmark? Very possibly.

Tom Attwood
Intermediate Capital Group (GP)

Lile APEP's, this is another of those one-but-several profiles, not least because Tom Attwood would want his fellow managing directors at ICG to be credited for being just as instrumental as he in making this firm what one contact described as ?the gorilla in the mezzanine park.? Founders Tom Bartlam (ex-Charterhouse buyout fund), Andrew Jackson (the person who made the then Chemical Bank a force in specialist financing in the 80s) and Jean-Loup Brousse de Gersigny (who worked alongside Jackson) should all be acknowledged. To many though, Attwood is the public face of the firm. Perhaps because of his background at James Capel, where he grew the firm's IPO business, Attwood has a particular awareness of what it takes to get a deal done. And although there are many more mezzanine providers nowadays, ICG's phone number – and Attwood's in particular ? continues to be the first on the list for many financial sponsors and their advisers. On the fund management side, ICG has become a leader in CDOs.

Kate Bingham
Schroder Ventures Life Sciences (GP)

Many regard biotechnology as one of the most slippery slopes for venture capitalists, with long investment cycles, low probabilities that portfolio companies will come to fruition and mixed performance in the past. Nevertheless the sector is still hugely in demand amongst investors, and in Europe a number of practitioners are leading the charge to catch up with the level of activity in the US. One of them is Kate Bingham, who is critical to Schroder Ventures' biotech investment effort. Having joined Schroder Ventures in 1991, she was involved three years later in setting up the firm's dedicated life sciences arm, which today manages $550m of capital and has invested in over 100 businesses. Bingham, who a former colleague says is so bright that ?you'll do well to keep up with her,? deserves much of the credit for turning the firm into one of Europe's leading players in health care and life science alongside Sir Chris Evans' Merlin Bioscience, Sofinnova Partners, TVM Techno Venture and Index Ventures.

Jonathan Blake
SJ Berwin (Lawyer)

The private equity practice group at UK headquartered law firm SJ Berwin has built an impressive reputation for fund formation expertise (it was again voted the best firm at this in the 2001 PrivateEquityOnline poll) as well as transactional advice. Credit for this should go to a number of members of the team, including Josyane Gold and Mark Mifsud but it is the team's leader, Jonathan Blake, whose name is mentioned most often. His considerable experience – he became a partner in 1983 – along with an unwavering appetite for broader private equity policy matters (he is an active EVCA committee member besides conference speaker) prompts some to call him Europe's ?Mr Private Equity Law.? Now that the firm is building its office network across Europe, with offices already in Paris and Munich (where Uwe Steininger and Tony Tulloch are enjoying a strong reputation with private equity clients), Blake and his private equity team will be looking to extend their market share across the continent.

Gordon Bonnyman
Charterhouse (GP)

Gordon Bonnyman has been active in private equity for decades. Not only has he built Charterhouse Develop-ment Capital into a highly regarded buyout operation but he has won both the respect and affection from colleagues and competitors along the way. He has also mentored a number of other key figures in European private equity in their early careers – including Duke Street's Edmund Truell and former Bankers Trust and Merrills man Matthew Collins. Bonnyman led the team that bought Charterhouse out from HSBC in June last year and the firm has made a specialty of tracking down talented management and under valued companies across Europe in often neglected sectors (the purchase and exit from railstock leasing company Porterbrook being a case in point). Although wary of publicity and disdainful of any cult of personality, Bonnyman is a compelling private equity investor who inspires his own staff, his investors and his bankers. Few doubt that the firm will raise the targeted €3.5bn for its seventh fund, giving Bonnyman and his team the firepower to go after the really big deals, which will be interesting to watch.

Wim Borgdorff
NIB Capital (LP)

With over €14bn of funds under management, NIB Capital Private Equity is one of the largest private equity investment firms in Europe. It manages money for two key Dutch pension fund clients: ABP and PGGM. The firm invests in other private equity funds, co-invests and invests directly itself but we've selected Wim Borgdorff who is the managing partner in charge of funds investment (Volkert Doeksen looks after direct investments). As one source put it: ?These guys are serious about private equity and are prepared to invest large when they want to.? Although size isn't everything, the fact that NIB will commit €100m upwards if the fit is right makes them hugely influential. This preparedness to make very sizeable commitments has prompted other institutional investors in Europe to contemplate doing the same and this will continue to have a ripple effect that will further deepen the available capital pool in Europe. The NIB team currently commit €2bn per annum, on average, to private equity partnerships around the world.

Chris Brotchie
Baring Private Equity Partners (GP)

Chris Brotchie has been CEO of BPEP since 2000 but has been instrumental in helping shape the firm's business and strategy for far longer. He joined the private equity team in 1986 and was a key figure in helping ensure the business passed through the flames of the Baring Brothers implosion unscathed. The character of the business owes much to him ? and to his sustaining a franchise many thought was one of Barings' hallmarks: that of innovative participation in often less mainstream markets. Hence BPEP has people like Mike Calvey leading the team investing throughout Central Europe, Russia and CIS (and further afield there's Jean Salata opening up markets in Asia). BPEP also cultivates local partnerships to win local business ? and works with Procuritas on Scandinavian buyouts and Polytechnos in the German technology sector. Now that the firm manages over €2.3bn (81 per cent being third party money, the balance from parent ING) expect Brotchie's team to grow this distinctive franchise much further.

Les Brun
Hamilton Lane (Adviser)

Les Brun, chairman of Hamilton Lane, has built the firm into one of the leading investment advisors for institutional investors contemplating dipping their toes in private equity. Hamilton Lane is already an advisor to a number of the major new investment capital sources in Europe. As with other people in this list, Brun will be the first to deflect credit towards his colleagues at the firm but the style and energy of the business should be attributed to Brun. A graduate of social studies who drove a cab in New York after leaving university, Brun has pushed the firm hard to get to where it is. Arguably Hamilton Lane is today the leading international gatekeeper (and a major fund of fund investor too.) Brun is an eloquent and compelling private equity commentator. He is therefore a persuasive exponent for adding private equity to your allocation model: something a growing number of European investors are now undertaking.

Sir Ronald Cohen
Apax Partners (GP)

Sir Ronald set up his firm in venture capital prehistory in 1972 and presided over its march through the industry's dark ages. Steering the company through the early years wasn't easy, and Apax is often praised for refusing to be bogged down by several seasons of wanting returns. When European private equity finally took off, Apax rapidly grew into one of the best-known brands this side of the Atlantic, playing in both the venture and the buyout league and now managing more than €12bn of capital. Along the way Sir Ronald helped set up Easdaq, and today devotes considerable energy to promoting a broader role for venture capital in British society as chairman of the Social Investment Task Force. In 2001 he was given a knighthood for services to venture capital. Apax Partners is Europe's response to the US champions of private equity move towards institutionalisation, and Sir Ronald is the man who made (and is still making) it happen.

Jeremy Coller
Coller Capital (GP)

Mr Secondary. At a time when delivering liquidity to private equity funds and their investors is regarded as one of the fundamental necessities for the asset class to achieve mature status, Jeremy Coller is a key driver of this process. He saw the potential of buying discounted limited partner positions long before the mainstream stopped rubbishing the idea. Since launching his secondaries business in the late 1980s, he has built a reputation for being consistently innovative and ahead of the market. Today, Coller has a string of trophy deals against his name and a billion dollar fund in the pipeline that looks as good as closed. He is a man with a propensity to do the unexpected, a characteristic that makes him hard to ignore. Fiercely competitive, Coller takes pride in being in pole position in the secondary market in Europe, and he is certain to give his all to stay there. Secondary investing is set to take off and we predict that Coller will continue to play a key role in its development.

Matthew Collins
Hutton Collins (Debt provider)

Matthew Collins is probably the most widely respected arranger of leveraged finance in Europe. Having learned his trade at Morgan Grenfell working with Graham Hutton, Collins arrived at Bankers Trust in 1993 and took their leveraged group to the top of the table by introducing European financial sponsors to structures that few Europeans had seen before let alone used in deals. His standing grew further after he'd moved to Merrill Lynch. But more managerial responsibilities left less time for doing deals, and when the opportunity to launch his own business came along, Collins jumped at the chance. Reunited with his old friend Hutton, many expect Collins to once again use his formidable imagination and brainpower to reshape the map of European leveraged finance. At the eve of the era of the multibillion euro buyout, this is a prospect that has rattled the competition and given general partners something significant to look forward to.

Nigel Doughty and
Richard Hanson, Doughty Hanson (GPs)

Putting the two founders of Doughty Hanson together is not meant to be a way of packing this list, but rather reflects the fact that the two have jointly created one of the most distinctive private equity operations in Europe. ?They're the perfect couple? said one source, ?with Dick and Nigel you've got the rough and the smooth.? What's distinctive about the firm, which is about to start raising its latest fund targeted at €3bn, is that they are capable of surprises. ?They make bold moves and will take the kind of risks that have previously been unknown in Europe, and certainly from Europeans? said one of our sources. They are also serious about investing in the US. Now with over €5bn under management and 50 investment professionals, the firm is not only continuing to make its presence felt in the buyout big league (where the team are increasingly concentrating on delivering exits) but is now pushing hard into European real estate investing. Expect more surprises from the firm over the coming 12 months.

Charlie Geffen
Ashurst Morris Crisp (Lawyer)

When Cinven successfully jumped in the driving seat of the NCP auction this month, Ashurst Morris Crisp was the law firm that mobilised a squad of over 20 lawyers to help them win the day. And the key figure in this group, as with so many buyout deals, was Charlie Geffen. Geffen heads the M&A team at the UK-headquartered law firm, and he continues to be referenced as the man you want on your side when the going gets tough. He is a dealmaker's lawyer: focussed, creative in finding solutions and pragmatic. ?He knows the inside and the outside of a deal and knows what to get done, how to get it done and when to get it done by? was how one supporter described his work approach. He also has invaluable cross-border deal experience. Without predicting a sudden leap in the number and value of LBOs in Europe, the next 12 months will see a series of major deals finally close. And Geffen and the team will be making sure a number of these do reach the finish line.

Anne Glover and
Hermann Hauser Amadeus Capital Partners (GPs)

The founders of Amadeus Capital Partners are among Europe's most well-known information technology investors. Hauser and Glover, a serial founder of technology businesses, have cultivated an investment approach that many in the market regard as ?no-nonsense?, and succeeded in consolidating Amadeus' reputation in the industry at a time when many rivals got knocked. In the second half of last year, Amadeus not only kept investing, but also brought in additional personnel, including US-style venture partners responsible for applying operational expertise to portfolio companies – a novelty in Europe. It also started raising a small wireless fund to invest in very early stage mobile companies which a couple of weeks ago made its first investment. ?They are extremely experienced, with the kind of investment skills that are much harder to find in Europe than in the US?, commented an investor who is intimately familiar with both environments. Amadeus manages £285m in two venture capital funds, investing on both sides of the Atlantic.

Jason Glover
Clifford Chance (Lawyer)

Clifford Chance is now a huge law firm (?a manyheaded monster? joked one contact) so it's tough to single out any one person whose relationship with the private equity community makes them stand out. We've selected Jason Glover though because of the frequency his name was cited during our research. Other people mentioned from the firm included James Baird, Simon Tinkler and David Walker on deals and Stephen Ross on fund documentation. Glover has developed a considerable appetite for private equity matters and can be found working across the entire spectrum of activities for private equity clients: be they VC or buyout specialists. Qualified in 1991 and a partner from 1998, Glover is keen for his firm to make the most of its considerable heft across Europe. Both local firms and the US law giants determined to export their private equity franchise to Europe, already have spotted him on their radar screens. And this seems a good time to mention another characteristic a source mentioned: ?Jason is extremely hard working; and extremely competitive.?

Mounir Guen
MVision (Placement agent)

Prior to founding his own business in 2001, Mounir Guen was a key part of the Merrill Lynch placement team with particular responsibility for Europe. And it was during his time there that he developed his views on the role and responsibilities of a placement agent: the result is MVision. In particular, Guen (?Moose? to those who know him) is keen to remove his activities from the plain agent role to that of an advisor. Hence fund raising in his book means a pretty much constant process of marketing and reporting – with MVision involved throughout. Guen has strong views on placement work and the private equity market as a whole – something that draws both support and criticism from others. But few can deny that he and his growing team are ambitious, not simply for MVision but for the funds they work with. Guen's drive and enthusiasm has already won over significant clients and a growing number of investors are discovering the delights of the asset class thanks to him.

Robin Hall
Cinven (GP)

Cinven likes to keep a low profile but we've selected Robin Hall as the strategist who has made Cinven what it is ? and what it intends to be: one of the largest players in the European buyout space. ?He's a ballsy guy?, was how one contact that knows the firm well put it, ?and he's helped transform the business into one of the leading financial buyers of major assets across Europe.? Hall nonetheless prefers to stay out of the spotlight, though assiduously maintaining a dialogue with Cinven's limited partners. Mention should also be made of Andrew Joy, the partner who led the fundraising effort for the firm's just closed Fund Three. With a final close in April this year at €4.3bn this was a telling indication of the esteem the group is held in by institutional investors: the target had been €3.5bn. With that firepower Hall's vision looks sure to be realised. The latest illustration of the Cinven approach was its last minute comeback in the NCP auction in May that saw the firm snatch the UK car park business from rivals Apax.

Guy Hands
Terra Firma (GP)

Guy Hands burst onto the scene in the mid-1990s with a genuinely innovative investment approach, and the amount of money this made both for backers Nomura and himself easily makes him one of the biggest success stories to have surfaced in the industry over the past decade. Hands spent seven years buying relatively modest risk and delivering high ROI by working it hard and refinancing it early. This was before his appetite for large transactions become too ferocious for Nomura's balance sheet, prompting Hands to set up shop on his own. Meanwhile others have moved to put some of his tools into their own boxes, and while he is out looking to raise over €3bn for the Terra Firma fund, the question of whether anyone ? himself included ? can use a similar formula to emulate his past success has captured the market's imagination at present. Our prediction is that he will continue to be ahead of the game, and we expect him to see him swing into action as soon as Terra Firma II is past a first closing.

Richard Hayes

Institutional investors in alternative assets don't come any bigger than CalPERS, and the man responsible for their $20bn stake in the global private equity business is a natural entry on any list of private equity grandees. But Rick Hayes' claim to a seat at this table is far from based on numbers alone. Since taking over as CalPERS' senior investment officer for alternative investment in 2001, Hayes has been quick to consolidate his standing as one of the main protagonists of limited partner activism at a time when the pendulum of power has swung away from general partner groups. CalPERS' publishing of GP performance data on its website last year caused a sensation, and even though the information was subsequently withdrawn, the episode showed just how enthusiastically Hayes is looking to champion the cause of transparency in the asset class. Expect him to use both his CalPERS clout and his captaincy of the Institutional Limited Partners Association to further turn up the heat on the industry.

David Hutchings
Cambridge Associates (Adviser)

CA has developed a strong reputation both amongst LPs and GPs for providing quality research and guidance for those wanting to chart the sometimesmurky waters of private equity investing. In their London office (they are Boston headquartered), it is David Hutchings who is delivering highlyregarded advice to European investors. Hutchings should be credited for clarifying a lot of things in peoples' minds about private equity's fit in an allocation model: ?He's very astute and very good at explaining complex matters in an accessible way? was one LP's judgement. A GP added: ?He's a model of integrity: he favours no one and always delivers solid, objective advice.? He's also served his time, having been with Montague Ventures before joining CA, meaning, like so many other esteemed specialists, that it takes one to know one. As private equity continues its courtship of the European buyside, expect to see Hutchings chaperoning many of the prospects.

Conni Jonsson
EQT Partners (GP)

EQT Partners has been travelling outside many people's radar until recently and that has probably suited Conni Jonsson fine. As the team's managing director ? and one of the founders in 1994 ? Jonsson has worked hard to develop a distinctive methodology to private equity investing that draws heavily on a network of highly experienced, and well-connected, industrialists. It's been a low-key approach that has attracted increasing attention as the investments and the firm's funds under management have grown in size. Another distinctive factor is the relationship with Investor AB, the Wallenberg industrial holding company. Not only was Jonsson with Investor for seven years but the group has been a cornerstone investor in EQT's funds: another reason why this remains a valuable, and close, relationship. Jonsson has created an industrialist's interpretation of a private equity firm and readers should expect Jonsson and the EQT network to be in the thick of the corporate restructuring process across Northern Europe.

Michael Klein
Salomon Smith Barney (Banker)

industry that thrives on the personalities of management and investors ? and their advisers play a critical role in making the right connections deliver the right result. Michael Klein is a master of this. And he has a passion for private equity. Add to this the fact that he is vice chair and co-head of investment banking at Salomon Smith Barney and you have an explosive mix. Klein clearly wants to see the bank grow its already sizeable footprint in Europe. ?He stuck his head inside European private equity, saw who was doing what and then went to the key people and invited them to rethink their financing: with Sollys at the centre? was one comment we had. Klein, and the bank's Financial Entrepreneurs Group, expect to deliver innovative ideas and the means to execute these to private equity groups the world over. Klein also spends an inordinate amount of time thinking how private equity as an asset class works. Just take a look at the web-cast interview currently running on to get a better sense of his thoughts on this.

Thomas Kubr
Capital Dynamics (Fund of funds)

Securitised private equity products are still in their infancy, but there is a growing band of Swiss practitioners who are working hard to apply CDO technology to the asset class. At the forefront of this is Thomas Kubr, the agile founder of funds of funds boutique Capital Dynamics. Kubr, a former partner at fellow Swiss innovator Partners Group, distinguished himself by launching the Prime Edge transaction, the first-ever private equity fund to receive a credit rating that didn't rely on an insurance wrap. Prime Edge pulled in $175m when it closed in February 2002, but Kubr says the main thing was to demonstrate the concept's potential to the market. It is early days for private equity securitisation, but supporters say the technology, once optimised, will serve a broad range of purposes. Kubr is eager to prove that a lot more can be done, and is already contemplating what Prime Edge 10 will look like. Expect more securitised private equity product coming out of Switzerland soon.

Brian Larcombe
3i (GP)

from most other private equity chiefs in more than one respect. Not only has 3i by far the largest headcount in the business, but running a public company deprives its CEO of the ?private? in private equity that many of his peers at the more conventional general partnerships defend as such an essential element of their business model. When 3i's recent push into technology stalled amid the market downturn, Larcombe and his team moved decisively to make corrections. Including job cuts and office closures, these were painful at the time but have already started to bear fruit. By writing down overvalued assets more aggressively then most others, 3i sent a message to the market that wasn't lost on many in the private equity community. Larcombe, who joined the firm in 1974 and took up the reins in 1997, is also credited with internationalising the 3i brand, restructuring its regional network and leading the firm's expansion into new markets in the US and Asia.

Javier Loizaga
Mercapital (GP)

When Mercapital closed its most recent fund at €600m in December 2000 some were taken aback that a Spanish fund could be so large. Those who knew Mercapital though saw it as a logical outcome of the company's commitment to private equity in Spain. It was also an affirmation of Javier Loizaga's unswerving dedication to both the business and the asset class. People remark on the fact that the firm has stayed true to the dedicated country fund proposition and also praise the efforts it has made in educating Spanish investors and entrepreneurs about private equity. Both principles are close to Loizaga's heart. Loizaga is the public face of Mercapital and both he as well as the rest of the firm clearly delight in increasing their grip on the Spanish private equity market. Readers should also expect to see him take an increasingly high profile role in disseminating the private equity message: in particular with the EVCA's IR committee.

Stefan Marelid
SEB Asset Management (LP)

Having already committed circa. $1.5bn to private equity, it's clear that SEB's asset management team are serious about the asset class. Stefan Marelid heads up the private equity group at the firm and was mentioned by a number of our contacts, not so much because of the size of the capital pool he manages, but rather because in their estimation he has developed a rigorous and mature approach to investing in this sometimes awkward asset class. ?Stefan does his homework and has quickly developed the experience to put particular stages in the cycle in context? said one. Although never an apologist for private equity and VC investing (?to hear him speak at a conference you sometimes think he's more anti- than proprivate equity? was one comment also made to us) Marelid and SEB have clearly made a long-term commitment to private equity investing and, yes, they are big players. That's good for the industry as a whole, let alone the GPs they select.

Jonny Maxwell
Standard Life Investments (Fund of funds)

Those who know him ? and it's a fair bet that most in the industry do ? describe Jonny Maxwell as bright, vocal, opinionated and blessed with a sense of humour that works like a dream on conference panels. Maxwell, who runs the private equity fund of funds and direct investment business of Standard Life alongside David Currie (an important figure in his own right) was among the relatively few who kept their cool as well as their Euros during the technology craze. What's more, he wasn't shy to tell those who didn't in pretty plain terms where he thought they were heading. Part LP, Part GP, Maxwell's opinion tends to be heard – partly because he and Currie successfully manage increasingly large amounts of money (a new €1bn fund of funds launched in March) and partly because he makes a strong case as to why private equity practitioners should seek the initiative when dealing with the issues facing the asset class. That message needs a sure voice and Maxwell is one who has it.

Nigel McConnell
Electra Partners Europe (GP)

It's been less than three years since Nigel McConnell moulded the deal that gave Electra its independence, and since then the firm has invested only a fraction of the €1bn it raised in 2000. Is that too short a history for the house that McConnell leads to have made its mark in the industry? Arguably not, for the fact is that few names came up more regularly than his when we quizzed practitioners about which up and coming European GPs they rated most highly. McConnell, who joined modern Electra's predecessor in 1991, is given credit for breathing new life into a business that had looked dead in the water, turning it into a hugely credible proposition to investors and vesting it with a sharp and disciplined approach to mid-market value investing that many are certain will yield significant rewards. His straightforward and team-player personal style is part of the appeal as well: to some he's the prototypical private equity professional for a new decade.

Doug Miller
International Private Equity Ltd (Placement agent)

only person who has had to reinforce the floor of his home to accommodate a collection of private equity fund PPMs. This is evidence of Miller's encyclopaedic knowledge of the industry as well as his firms' small and personal nature – he runs it from his study at home. Miller has claimed that he started the business back in 1990 to give himself something to do after retiring from a successful venture capital and investment banking career but this belies his influence in the industry – everyone seems to know Miller and he is almost universally respected. ?Narrow and deep? is how one LP described Miller's penetration to investors – he has a long track record, knows the LPs well and is trusted by them. He also chooses who he works with – his interest in the fund's aims is often as important as the fee when deciding who he represents. One thing is certain: there is no shortage of demand for his services.

Mario Monti
European Commission (Regulator)

The European buyout space gets every one excited: the fundamentals seem right, the funds are raised and the vendors are increasingly ready to sell. But don't forget the other vital ingredient to that buy and build deal: EC approval. Mario Monti is the Commissioner in charge of competition and heads a team who have become far more active in the past few years. What's interesting is that the process of negotiating with the Commission when seeking approval of a deal is both art and science. Monti has endeavoured to bring a structure to the process ? so you'll get the chance for Phase I or Phase II (with remedies) approval ? but it's still vital that you develop a strong dialogue with the EC. ?It's horse trading? said one M&A lawyer who advises private equity firms, and this means you must get the measure of the far from naïve EC team. And Monti has worked hard to ensure his team are responsive: he's alive to what private equity firms are trying to achieve, but is just as sensitive to which deal could be anticompetitive. Just ask CVC when they tried to buy Lenzing.

Jon Moulton
Alchemy Partners (GP)

The European buyout space gets every one excited: the fundamentals seem right, the funds are raised and the vendors are increasingly ready to sell. But don't forget the other vital ingredient to that buy and build deal: EC approval. Mario Monti is the Commissioner in charge of competition and heads a team who have become far more active in the past few years. What's interesting is that the process of negotiating with the Commission when seeking approval of a deal is both art and science. Monti has endeavoured to bring a structure to the process ? so you'll get the chance for Phase I or Phase II (with remedies) approval ? but it's still vital that you develop a strong dialogue with the EC. ?It's horse trading? said one M&A lawyer who advises private equity firms, and this means you must get the measure of the far from naïve EC team. And Monti has worked hard to ensure his team are responsive: he's alive to what private equity firms are trying to achieve, but is just as sensitive to which deal could be anticompetitive. Just ask CVC when they tried to buy Lenzing.

Paul Myners

When Paul Myners, then chairman of UK fund manager Gartmore, published his long-awaited review of institutional investment in the UK in March 2001, his work won near-unanimous praise in the market place. Described by one practitioner as ?the first rational work on regulation in the UK,? the review succeeded in not only making the case for reforming Britain's investment industry, it also boosted private equity's profile as an asset class. Myners urged investors not to miss out on the benefits of private equity investment and drafted a blueprint for reform to ensure asset managers could no longer hide behind regulatory obstacles to justify their neglect of alternative assets. Implementation of Myners' ideas is a longterm and ongoing project, and there are other forces at work determining private equity's future. But the evidence is that many hitherto apathetic UK institutions have started to take the asset class more seriously since he presented his ideas – and because he deserves at least part of the credit for that, his place in this list is secure.

Dominique Peninon
Access Capital Partners (Fund of funds)

The managing partner of Access Capital Partners, Dominique Peninon has to practice what he preaches. As a fund of funds manager and a recent chairman of EVCA's investor relations committee, Peninon has made an important contribution to the way the industry treats its investors. He is a stern advocate of better and more consistent reporting practices, maintaining that excessive flow of information from general to limited partners can be as damaging as insufficient communication between them. Peninon makes our list for this progressive approach to investor relations and transparency and his enthusiasm for promoting best practice that will help make the asset class a more LP-friendly place. Peninon co-founded Access in 1999 after spending close to 20 years as a practitioner in French private equity, and has since been instrumental in turning the firm into a European fund of funds of some influence in just three years. Access currently manages €250m in limited partner interests and is expected to close a new fund, with a target of €400m, this summer.

Bruno Raschle
Adveq Management (Fund of funds)

Adveq has become one of the most influential continental European funds of funds operations and much of the credit should go to Bruno Raschle, its founder. Having been active in venture investing for over 17 years, Raschle's background is a distinctive mix of poacher and gamekeeper (being both LP and GP). Not only did he set up MC Partners' FoFs in Switzerland at a time when this type of investment product was still in its infancy but he also has direct operational management experience and has financed over a dozen start-up companies. Adveq has now grown to become one of the largest FoF management groups in Europe and its funds have attracted a broad spectrum of European institutional investors. Raschle has helped instill a disciplined investment approach whilst retaining the creative thinking that has given the firm its edge. As one industry insider put it: ?Bruno's a major promoter of VC investing and a smart manager through the cycle.?

Joseph Rice Clayton Dubilier & Rice (GP)
From the late 1970s onwards, whilst the buyout business was the declared fiefdom of financial engineers, Clayton Dubilier & Rice was developing an approach that was radically different. Anyone could come up with a clever leverage structure, co-founder Joe Rice maintained, but would that structure actually fit the business that it was imposed upon? Rice believed that to answer this you had to add some serious operational expertise to your financial skill set. He and colleagues at CD&R put the idea into practice and went on to do deals -such as Lexmark – that have long been the stuff of legend. The Rice way may not guarantee success, as the recent collapse of Fairchild Dornier in Germany has shown, but failed investments, frankly, is part of what happens in private equity. Today most GPs claim to take an active operational interest in their portfolio companies. Ask any of them whether there's anyone in the market whose style they admire – nine times out of ten CD&R will feature in the answer.

Leith Robertson Royal Bank of Scotland (Banker)
?Leith came, played and stayed in the big league for financing? was a comment we had when we asked our sources to name people who are helping drive European private equity. Leith Robertson has taken Royal Bank of Scotland to the top of the debt provider league tablesand this is precisely what he set out to achieve. Since jumping ship from Bank of Scotland in 1993, he has put RBS' balance sheet and a good deal of personal energy and charm to maximum use and turned the bank into a major provider of funding for private equity investors across Europe. Under his stewardship RBS used a platform in the mid-market to aggressively expand into the realm of the Cegelecs, the Messer Griesheims and, most recently, the NCPs. The coming year will be a challenge after the rapid expansion of recent years, but Robertson has enough savvy ? as well as some very competent colleagues – to make sure RBS is ready and able to take it on.

Sandra Robertson Wellcome Trust (LP)
Robertson is in charge of investing in alternative assets at the Wellcome Trust, the UK charitable foundation that has €3.5bn already committed to private equity. The Trust has been a longstanding and active investor in the asset class and Robertson is widely respected. ?She knows what she wants and she'll tell you? was one GP's comment. The Trust's investment approach is also interesting for its diversity: the portfolio includes early stage and VC commitments alongside a range of international buyout funds. Whatever the mix, Robertson never forgets that her primary responsibility is to make the money she manages deliver the best return with the least risk possible – one reason why the Trust works closely with investment adviser Cambridge Associates. And it's a responsibility she takes very seriously; something that encourages a refreshing frankness of approach. At last year's EVCA meeting in Rome, on an LP panel debating fund performance, it was she who reminded the audience: ?You can't eat IRRs?.

Andreas Rodin Pöllath + Partner (Lawyer)
Andreas Rodin at Pöllath + Partner in Berlin has more experience of private equity in Germany than most legal specialists. In 1985, Rodin and Reinhard Pöllath happened upon the mandate to structure Schroder Ventures' first German country fund, and Rodin went on to become one of the most widely known structuring experts in the country. He and the firm also maintain close ties to German high net worth individuals, family offices and institutions, another reason why Rodin is often consulted by general partners looking to raise money from local investor. He is working a tough environment: the speed with which Deutschland AG is changing its capital gains regimes, corporate taxation rules and takeover codes constitutes a permanent challenge to legal practitioners. Rodin is among the leading advisers involved in this process. One source described him as the ?most influential legal mind in Germany responsible for advising on solutions to the ever-changing German legal and fiscal landscape.?

David Rubenstein The Carlyle Group (GP)
Whenever David Rubenstein puts in an appearance at a European private equity event, people tend to gather around him and listen to what he's got to say. Practitioners clearly have a great deal of interest in how Rubenstein's project, the development of an umbrella brand for a global portfolio of investment alternatives within private equity, is progressing. Presently £12bn in assets are managed by 500 Carlyle employees for as many clients. These numbers are evidence of the firm's dominant role in developing the standing of the asset class into a mainstream location for institutional capital. To drive the effort forward, Rubenstein has assembled a high-profile cast of financial and political luminaries, but his personal contribution remains considerable. Going about his job with single-minded determination, Rubenstein claims to spend no less than 320 days a year on planes. This isn't likely to change any time soon: while Carlyle continues to build its global franchise, Rubenstein will work as hard as ever to ensure the market fully understands the proposition.

Björn Savén
Industri Kapital (GP)

Industri Kapital has become one of the key forces in Nordic private equity and this has in no small part be down to the focus of chairman and chief executive Björn Savén. Like Conni Jonsson of EQT Partners, Savén has passed through the ?Wallenberg University? though Jonsson was with Investor AB whilst Savén was with their financial services operation, SE Banken. He helped buy the IK operation from the bank in 1993 and has since worked to grow the firm into a major buyout player with over €3bn under management. As one GP noted: ?IK is capable of making bold, long-term investments.? Its most recent 2000 fund closed in January last year at €2.1bn. The recent IPO of Alfa Lavell may have attracted much media coverage for the paring back of the issue price but the deal was still a strong exit for IK. As more multinationals within the region (and beyond) reshape and restructure, it's a safe bet that IK will be an active participant in this process.

Stephen Schwarzman
Blackstone Group (GP)

When Stephen Schwarzman set up Blackstone with Pete Peterson in 1985 they probably could not have predicted that the firm would grow into one of the most powerful private equity groups in the world. Besides managing billions of dollars in its private equity funds (the latest having held a first close at $4bn) the firm is a leading force in corporate finance and advisory work ? particularly when it comes to restructurings. Schwarzman has been a key factor in all of this (the firm's website notes that he still approves all capital commitments), using his M&A skills and clarity of purpose to ensure the firm has participated in some of the most significant transactions of the past decade. Although happy to remain muted when it comes to its European plans, it's safe to assume that the company will be centre stage in a number of major deals: so long as they are the right ones. Schwarzman is acutely aware of the nuances that make operating in Europe a unique challenge as well as opportunity.

Mike Smith
CVC Capital Partners (GP)

Although CVC is one of the heavyweights in the European buyout space, chairman Mike Smith is here on account of his foresight and ability in taking the pan-European buyout proposition to US investors. The firm's latest fund is evidence of the success of this approach, which closed at €4.65bn in June last year. Smith has been with the business for 20 years, spending his formative years at the then Citicorp Venture Capital, where he worked with the likes of John Botts, Jon Moulton, Otto van der Wyck, Charles Gonszow and Frank Neale. In 1993, Smith led the MBO that created CVC. He spends a huge amount of his time nurturing investors, which is another factor that makes him stand out at the firm. As one US limited partner commented: ?Mike is a great advertisement not just for CVC but for why Europe is so compelling.? The fact that Smith commented last June that the firm was ready for a transaction of up to €7.5bn in size (when investing alongside another buyout firm) also evidences how big this proposition has become.

Hanneke Smits
Adams Street Partners (Fund of funds)

Hanneke Smits is building Adams Street Partners' European fund of funds investment business, which she was hired to set up in 1997 after five years at Pantheon Ventures. Adams Street's expansion into Europe is a gradual process, based on the view that it is only in the last few years that Europe has started to produce opportunities that could match the quality of the US. Smits, who also heads up the firm's ongoing expansion into Asia, works from the premise that to follow the herd is a dangerous thing to do in private equity, and many in the market concur that she is successfully avoiding it herself – one reason why LPs rate her opinion and GPs like to see Adams Street in their funds. Newcomers without investment experience need not apply, but a number of European first time funds that are led by seasoned private equity professionals have already benefited from Smits' making an early commitment. Expect her to support more such new players as Adams Streets' European effort gains further momentum.

David Swensen
Yale Endowment (LP)

?Sometimes you invite people to speak at your event, and then they don't say what you want them to.? This was the reaction of a panellist following the key note speech David Swensen gave at EVCA's annual investor gathering in Geneva last March. This longtime advocate of diversified fund strategies, in which private equity plays a key role, took the opportunity to give the industry a piece of his mind on issues ranging from fund size to performance assessment to GP compensation. Nevertheless the audience was mightily impressed with Swensen's ideas, feasting on the fact that even his now downwardly revised target allocation of 20 per cent of Yale's $10bn capital pool to private equity was still a massive endorsement for the asset class. The word on the street is that if there is anyone that a general partner will do almost anything to bring into a fund early on, it has got to be Swensen. As a leading European GP put it: ?If you're looking for a bellwether investor in private equity, David is your man.?

Rhoddy Swire
Pantheon Ventures (Fund of funds)

Pantheon Ventures is one of the biggest names in global private equity fund of funds management and secondary investment, and chairman Rhoddy Swire, alongside chief strategist and researcher Carol Kennedy, remains the person most people cite as the main driver of the business. Swire is one of the longest-serving Europeans in the industry, having joined Pantheon's then parent GT Management in 1981 to run its private equity investment unit. In 1988, he led a management buyout to take the business independent. During its history Pantheon has provided numerous clients with first-time access to the asset class, relying on an innovative approach to product development that continues to win the firm new mandates. Today the firm manages over $5bn and maintains relationships with some 500 global private equity funds investing in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa. €750m of assets under management are earmarked for investment in European partnerships, and there is also a $400m-plus global secondaries fund that is part of Pantheon's European coverage.

Edmund Truell
Duke Street Capital (GP)

Over the past decade, Edmund Truell has grown Duke Street Capital, the business he co-founded as Hambro European Ventures in 1988, into a leading player in the European middle market. Since 2001, the firm has also been blazing a trail as a pioneer in diversified alternative asset management with Duchess, currently Europe's largest CDO fund which successfully leverages Duke Street's relevant credit analysis skills to invest in leveraged loans. Another important contribution came in 2001 when Truell became the highly dynamic chairman of the British Venture Capital Association. Under his chairmanship the BVCA took a widely visible stance on issues ranging from corporate governance to better reporting standards. Truell himself, convinced that private equity has to change the way it deals with its own investors, has thrown his weight behind the campaign for greater transparency, incessantly urging the industry to deal with the reporting and disclosure issues it faces before others seize the initiative and deal with them for it.

Otto van der Wyck

Otto van der Wyck has built one of the most powerful brands in European buyouts. BC Partners, the business he co-founded in 1986 alongside John Burgess, stands out not only as a formidable buyer of industrial assets, but also as possibly the most genuinely pan-European player in the business. Unlike most of its multinational peers, who are often seen as still being dominated by their London headquarters, BC Partners' teams in Hamburg, Paris and Milan are seen as just as influential – and often more active – than the London office. A related part of his legacy, according to a practitioner who knows the Dutchmen well, is to have grown a general partnership whose structure is less hierarchical and more group-driven than most. This makes it a blueprint that may yet become standard in an asset class that is maturing fast. Van der Wyck may have retired from the firm last year, but his recent reemergence at Coller Capital as an advisor suggests he's not ready to let go of the buyout game entirely.

Ivan Vercoutère
LGT Capital Partners (Fund of funds)

Running the private equity arm of €2.5bn alternative asset managers LGT Capital Partners, Ivan Vercoutère's approach to fund of funds management is based on a view that return is often found off the beaten track, in niche funds and first time partnerships. Pursuing relevant opportunities with great discipline has helped LGT perform well throughout the cycle. Vercoutère has distinguished himself as a representative of the view that it is high time for private equity to evolve into a more transparent asset class. Vercoutère's group, like compatriot houses Partners Group and Capital Dynamics, is also part of the Swiss movement that is actively promoting private equity as an asset class to new investors groups. In 1997 LGT teamed up with Partners to launch Castle, the first private equity product to list on the Swiss stock exchange, in an effort to channel new capital into the asset class.

Urs Wietlisbach
Partners Group (Fund of funds)

Few individuals will have done more in recent years to tell the market about the potential of securitisation in private equity than Urs Wietlisbach, a cofounder of prolific Zug-based product designer Partners Group. Set up in 1996, Partners has continually set new standards for private equity based products that give access to investors who find conventional limited partnership structures unhelpful. Partners drove Switzerland's first listed private equity vehicle Castle in 1997, and subsequently introduced convertible debt products such as Pearl and Princess, which once and for all demonstrated to the market that private equity commitments can indeed be used as collateral for asset-backed securities. Partners, led by CEO Freddy Gantner, has grown a team of over 30 highly skilled professionals, but we have singled out Wietlisbach as its most visible spokesperson who has spent years encouraging often sceptical participants around the globe to consider the potential of securitisation as a key for the industry to open doors to new sources of capital.