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Business Growth Fund brings in new bosses

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The new members are Audrey Baxter, chief executive of Baxters Food Group; Stephen Murphy, group chief executive of Richard Branson’s Virgin group of companies; Neil Johnson, chairman of Umeco, Hornby and Motability Finance; and John Burgess, co-founder and managing partner of BC Partners and non-executive director of C&C Group.

“The Business Growth Fund is much more than a plain vanilla equity investment company. In addition to long-term capital investment, we will offer our investee companies the opportunity to meet and be guided by some of the most experienced business men and women and investment experts in the UK,” says Sir Nigel Rudd, chairman of the BGF.

“All four of our new non-executive directors have first-hand experience of leading and growing businesses in the UK and abroad. There is a clear focus on being relevant to business at a local level across the country; a recognition that many of our investments will come from families; and a desire to reach out and nurture a spirit of entrepreneurial success… Our partnership approach and sharing of expertise, guidance and contacts will be almost as valuable as the cash we inject into their businesses,” adds Stephen Welton, chief executive of the BGF.

Baxter became chairman and chief executive of W A Baxters and Sons in 2000, growing the business by over 50 per cent. 

Murphy took on his present role at Virgin in 2005. Having joined the Virgin Group in 1994, he left briefly in 2000 to become the chief executive of IP Powerhouse, but rejoined Virgin in 2001 to take responsibility for all of the company’s aviation and rail activities. 

Burgess has been non-executive director of a number of UK- and European-based businesses during his career as a private equity investor. 

Johnson was formerly chief executive of RAC and has had a series of senior roles within Lex Service Group, British Leyland, Jaguar and Land Rover.

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