3i’s buyout chief to go as firm re-organises


London-listed PE giant 3i has announced the departure of Jonathan Russell, head of the firm’s buy-out arm, as the division is merged with its growth capital arm to form a single private equity unit.

Russell, 50, is a former chair of the European Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EVCA) and has been at 3i for 24 years.

The firm is also to scrap its sector-based organisational structure in favour of a regional approach. It will retain a separate infrastructure division and is considering expanding into debt management.

“Our sector teams have been working increasingly together across our buyouts and growth businesses for some time. So this is a logical step and one which we think will make us even more effective in the market,” said Michael Queen, 3i’s CEO.

This is Queen’s first re-organisation since taking over from Philip Yea in January 2009.

3i’s share price was up 1.5 per cent when the LSE opened this morning but had fallen back to yesterday’s closing level by 11am.

3i was hit hard by the financial crisis, seeing its share price drop 87 per cent from peak to trough between 2007 and 2009.

Over the course of 2009 the firm sought to cut its debt from a peak of £2.1bn (€2.5bn), leading to measures including a £732m (€875.9m)rights issue and the de-listing of its QPEP fund. The firm’s net debt was £325m (€388.9m) as of July 2010.

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