Posted on Oct 11, 2020 at 10:50 a.m.
Pivot of French private equity, the former Paribas Industrial Affairs opens a new era in its governance. Michel Paris, the historical partner of PAI Partners, the only one at the helm for five years, entrusts the management of the fund of 14 billion euros of assets to a triumvirate.
This is a step towards major international unlisted franchises, managed by a division of partners, for the firm which took its independence from the French bank almost 20 years ago. It is also a critical milestone, unlike other private equity firms deeply rooted in the hands of their founder.
“There is no longer any primus inter pares”, underlines Michel Paris, nor nde chairman of the executive committee taking precedence over partners, as in certain Anglo-Saxon investment companies. “What should be the most important for investors, he considers, is the performance, as well as the sectoral and geographic skills of a management team, and not those of a key man ”.
The handover was done very smoothly: the three key partners of the investment fund have been assigned the roles for several months already by Michel Paris. Former of Paribas, and pillar since almost the beginning of the 90s of the large-scale investments of PAI Partners – such as the joint venture founded with Nestlé, the Cerba, Kaufman & Broad laboratories, or Yoplait – Frédéric Stévenin heads the investment committee for three years, with the direct supervision of the health and agro-food sectors, two strong points of the fund.
Laurent Rivoire joined the investment firm in 2001 after starting at Goldman Sachs. In addition to the responsibility for the entire industrial sector, he is responsible for the human resources of the management company. Finally Richard Howell has been managing two key issues for any investment fund since the financial crisis of 2009: investor relations and acquisition financing.
Under the chairmanship of Michel Paris, the PAI Partners team will have returned 8.7 billion euros to its investors on the capital entrusted, and has become accustomed to returning them at least times their stake. The 63-year-old investor will continue to provide them with the benefit of his network and will remain a member of the investment committee until the end of the deployment period of the last fund, within two years.
The last vehicle of 5 billion euros has already been invested at 44%, and PAI Partners could start lifting again next fall. Investor demand will probably be there: the last fund was over-subscribed three times.