Over the past decade, private equity firms have doubled down on operational improvement as a driver of value creation, a trend that was only accelerated by increasing purchase price multiples in the run-up to the pandemic.
Attracting and retaining the right people has become increasingly important, but operational hires have not always gone to plan. This led to people "flitting in and out of operational roles," said Kenna Baudin, who leads Egon Zehnder's Private Equity Practice in the U.S.
One of the issues is that the term operating partner means different things at different private equity firms. In the past, some operating partners haven't had a seat at the table.
Diversity across teams is also a major focus for firms today, and to achieve this, Baudin advises taking a different approach to recruitment. "You really do have to be deliberate in your search if you are to build genuinely diverse candidate shortlists," she said. "You have to look in different places otherwise you'll just come up with the same people. Firms also need to focus on the skill sets they're trying to address rather than on the chair an individual sits in today. It's not about what has happened, but about their potential. This is probably more important now than ever because so much has changed - you need agility."
Full Story: Private Equity International: The operating partner of tomorrow by Vicky Meek (1 October 2020).