Life as a private equity-backed FD: Holy grail or holy nightmare?

There is no doubting the attraction of private equity-backed status for a finance director – an unparalleled focus on growth, discipline, autonomy and above all, of course, the potential for serious financial reward.

For FDs who find the prospect of a lifetime in FTSE purgatory hard to swallow, and who instead want a real slice of the action for themselves, private equity can be the obvious path to take.

But there are challenges too. A lot of them. Not least, the urgency of working with debt. Private equity firms are also notoriously hot on marshalling cash and cost control.

And there are no second chances. Private equity investors aren’t afraid to make changes to the management teams they back, and more often than not it is the FD in the firing line.

It is with both this pressure and promise in mind that Real Business is supporting its sister magazine, private equity title Real Deals, in Entrepreneurial FD, a one-day conference that will bring together finance directors, private equity firms and lenders to openly debate the opportunities and challenges that life as a standalone FD of a business with an exit agenda present. The event takes place at the London Marriott on 27 November.

Our roster of experienced panellists will debate cash flow, leverage, procurement, team dynamics, restructuring, acquisition and exit. We will also be hearing war stories from FDs who have been there, and done that.

Speakers already signed up include:

Jim Weight – former CFO at Westminster Healthcare and HIT Entertainment, now founder of Weight Capital Partners.

Paul Bosson – a serial private equity-backed finance director, Paul has worked on no less than five separate buyouts and is currently FD at Francisco Partners-backed Masternaut.

Ged Gould – currently at mid-market private equity firm LDC, Ged was previously the finance director at private equity-backed American Golf and James Briggs.

Tom Boucher – previously finance director at Bowmark Capital-backed Data Explorer, sold to Markit Group last year.

Peter Fredericks – finance director at digital media marketeer Snell.

Richard Scott – finance director at Equistone Partners Europe-backed MRH, the largest owner of garage forecourts in the UK and previously FD of Red Funnel ferries.

Matthew Wheeler – a serial chairman in the sports-related arena, frequently in private equity-backed businesses, Matthew is currently a managing partner at Sports Investment Partners.

Richard Butler – chief executive of ECI-backed manufacturer Stewart Group.

Cate Poulson – formerly a headhunter for CEOs and FDs, Cate is now in charge of developing relationships with senior executives for the Business Growth Fund.

Steve Darrington – currently finance director of mid-market private equity firm Phoenix Equity Partners, Steve was previously CFO at Netnumber.com.

Richard Grethe – finance director of Mobeus Partners-backed Focus Pharmaceuticals.

Roland Perry – a serial private equity-backed FD who has worked with Barclays Private Equity (now Equistone Partners Europe) and 3i, among others.

Michael Roller – previously CFO of Bridgepoint-backed Corin as well as numerous other public and private equity-backed businesses.

Paul Hinder – having held senior finance and operational roles at Motorola, Mercury Communications and Cable & Wireless, Paul is now a “non-exec CFO” to private equity-backed companies.

Nigel Guy – chairman and non-exec director at numerous private equity-backed businesses.

Coen Van Breda – a serial CFO who has worked in multiple private equity-backed buyouts.

Sarah Hunt – founder of specialist FD headhunting business EquityFD.

Tickets are just £395 before October 12th and this event is CPD certified. To register or find out more about this essential day visit fd.realdeals.eu.com, email fds@realdeals.eu.com or call 020 7045 7600.

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