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France’s largest private equity firm loses two senior executives

24 Aug 2009

France’s largest private equity group PAI Partners is losing two of its most senior executives earlier than expected, following significant losses on some investments, according to reports.

The departures will result in the firm facing a renegotiation of its new €5.4bn fund with investors.

Dominique Mégret, who has been with PAI since 1974 and took charge in 2006, has handed the role of chief executive over to Lionel Zinsou, who joined the firm from Rothschild last year.

Michel Paris, currently head of capital goods and services, will replace Mégret as chairman of PAI’s investment committee when Mégret takes his early retirement next year.

Mégret’s departure will trigger a “key man” clause in the €5.4bn fund, which could in extreme cases lead to the winding up of a fund. Reports have stated, however, that PAI is more likely to make some concessions on the size and terms of the fund in order to keep its investors on board.

One result of the reconfiguration has been the resignation of Bertrand Meunier, who has been with the firm for 27 years.

PAI is enlarging its executive committee to include more non-French partners. Ricardo de Serdio, head of PAI’s Spanish office, and Raffaele Vitale, head of Italy, are two who are coming on board.

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