Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCAL) chief executive Katherine Woodthorpe has resigned after seven years in the role.
She oversaw a tricky period for private equity following the 2008 global financial crash, where she had to defend the industry against allegations of asset stripping and job slashing.
Woodthorpe, who will remain in the role until October 31, said she had quit her job to “pursue fresh challenges”.
AVCAL chairman John White said, “Shortly after Katherine joined AVCAL as CEO private equity was in the regulatory spotlight in the US, UK and Australia.
“Katherine was instrumental in assembling the evidence to show that PE had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the Australian economy.
“Since that time Dr Woodthorpe and her team have done much to build a better understanding of how we go about our business.
“That has included building AVCAL’s research function so that we have the data to show the fundamental value-add that PE brings is in transforming investee firms by increasing revenue and expanding their workforces.
“Katherine has also helped to reduce significantly the knowledge and transparency gap between what PE communicates and what key business and government stakeholders need to know and understand.
“The introduction of AVCAL’s Code of Private Equity Governance was another significant milestone for our industry.
“Katherine’s successor will inherit a strong secretariat and on behalf of the AVCAL Council and membership I sincerely thank Katherine for her valuable contribution.”
Woodthorpe said, “During my seven years with AVCAL I have enjoyed the support and friendship of some of the finest and smartest business leaders in the country.
“It is now one of the country’s largest employers, with more people working in private equity- owned firms than in the mining sector.
“I have long been passionate about the vital role that venture capital plays so I was particularly proud that we were able to assemble the evidence to show that VC-backed firms spend much more on research and development than their industry peers.
“Securing $350m from the Government’s Innovation Investment Fund programme will help ensure venture capital continues to deliver returns for the nation in terms of innovation and new, sustainable jobs.”
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