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Distressed Private Equity Team Build

Blackwood’s client is a well-known global investment business with a remit to invest across the capital structure in a broad number of sectors. The nature of the investments and the fact that the business is SEC regulated means that there is very little publicly available information about this fund. It is a business that was founded over ten years ago and has a current fund in excess of $5bn and around 50% of their investors are in Europe.

Role

Blackwood worked closely with one of the Managing Directors to find a senior private equity investor from a traditional LBO background. The ideal candidate needed to have good deal experience but most importantly needed to have had extensive portfolio experience, ideally having worked with a business which needed extensive restructuring and probably a refinancing. The fund focuses on creditor friendly countries and therefore Northern European language skills were important with the exception of German because there was a separate German office and headcount.

Search Process

There was a broad universe of candidates to be approached but because of the distressed nature of the remit there was a mixed reaction to the opportunity. Blackwood spent a reasonable amount of time educating the candidate pool about the misconceptions around the industry. There were also all of the issues around relocation for some of the Northern European candidates who didn’t want to move to London. The culture of the firm is strong and therefore finding someone to fit was important; the team is very lean and therefore someone who was able to work without a large infrastructure was important. The original brief we were given was actually more junior than the real need in the team and therefore Blackwood looked at both levels to prove that they really needed someone more senior.

Outcome

Blackwood appointed an investor from one of the European large cap funds. The first short list was produced two weeks after the search was awarded but the actual completion took more time than normal because of the change in level and the need to wait for a year end resignation. Blackwood completed full referencing throughout the process.

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