January 19, 2011 10:58 am

Florman unveiled as BVCA head

Mark Florman was on Wednesday unveiled as the new head of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, replacing Simon Walker three years after he took over amid a political crisis at the trade body.

A former senior principal at Doughty Hanson, the UK buy-out group, Mr Florman recently teamed up with Bob Geldof to help the rock star to launch 8 Miles, a planned $1bn fund to invest in African private equity.

The 52-year-old started his career with the Northern Trust Bank of Chicago before joining County Bank and Enskilda Securities. He co-founded and later ran Maizels, Westerberg and Co, a Nordic M&A boutique, before joining Doughty Hanson.

He is also heavily involved in politics, serving as deputy treasurer of the Conservative party until 2007, and chairing the think tank Centre for Social Justice. His philanthropic roles include founding the Build a School in Africa charity and serving as ambassador of the Royal Albert Hall.

The BVCA, which represents 450 venture capital and buy-out groups, plays an important role in lobbying the UK government and the European Union over taxation, banking, financial regulation and company law.

It was plunged into crisis in mid-2007, when its bosses were called before the Treasury select committee’s public inquiry into private equity and given a verbal mauling over allegations of tax-avoidance and asset-stripping.

Mr Walker, a former head of communications at Reuters and for the Queen, took over in October 2007 and helped to assuage political criticism by overseeing a voluntary code of conduct on transparency for the industry.

While he is widely credited with damping media and union attacks on private equity, Mr Walker has at times been frustrated by the challenge of co-ordinating a diverse group of strong-willed characters. He once described his job as like “herding cats”.

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