May 20, 2019

Private Equity News: US executives headhunted to run PE-backed tech businesses

More than half of all new European clients want to hire US executives with this experience, according to global executive search firm TritonExec.

Private equity-backed European businesses are looking to hire US executives as they try to bring their technology expertise to the continent.

Global executive search firm TritonExec has seen a 45% increase in search assignments for senior executives who have led successful high growth US tech businesses over the past 10 to 15 years.

Currently, nearly 60% of assignments that TritonExec is working on are either from European clients or a North American client looking to bring such skills to the European market. A year ago, this accounted for approximately 25% of assignments, the company said.

“The past 15 years has seen the rise of the high growth, hyper-scale, billion dollar success stories come out of the US,” said Abe Doctor, head of TritonExec.

“European companies, particularly ambitious private equity firms, want to emulate the success of these US-grown tech brands and therefore seek experienced operators who have proven their worth as their companies proved solid and [showed] stable growth over this period.”

The headhunter said more than half of all new European clients want to hire US executives with this experience.

Doctor said that while European fintech firms continue to grow, the talent that is needed to turn them into multi-billion dollar businesses is difficult to find locally, with most people experienced in such companies – such as Amazon, Uber, Netflix and Airbnb – based in the US.

Firms are mainly focusing on recruiting heads of corporate strategy, human resources and supply chains, he said.

Over the next two to three years, Doctor expects that the talent pool will grow as European and UK firms become more developed. However, at the moment, companies need to look to North America. Doctor added that American private equity clients who have not invested in Europe in the past are now extending their strategies to acquire businesses in the region.

Doctor pointed out that it is not just private equity-backed fintech businesses but also other technology enabled companies that are adopting this recruitment approach.

One example of US executives taking up roles at UK startups is Deliveroo. The business hired Dan Winn as vice president of engineering in October 2018. He was previously director of engineering at Google in San Francisco. The firm’s chief technology officer Mike Hudack, who has now left, previously worked for Facebook in the US.

Some of TritonExec’s clients include Capgemini, Accenture, Icahn Enterprises, Gryphon Investors and Genpact.

View the original article from Private Equity News here.