Pritpal Aujla joins restaurant investor Roark Capital as CFO; EIG Global Energy searches for his replacement

Pritpal Aujla, CFO of Roark Capital

Pritpal Aujla has joined Roark Capital Group as chief financial officer after more than 12 years working at EIG Global Energy Partners, most recently as CFO.

Aujla joins the firm at a fraught time. The firm has made a series of bets on restaurant, retail healthcare and health, wellness and beauty businesses that serve customers through retail outlets. Many such outlets have been closed to customer traffic for several weeks to help tamp down the Covid-19 pandemic. The firm also invests in consumer and business services.

Aujla (pictured) did not respond to requests for comment for this article. An executive at EIG Global Energy Partners said that the firm has retained an executive search firm to find candidates to replace Aujla. The executive did not respond to a request for additional details.

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JSPI Capital sets out to acquire lower-mid-market companies; may expand payroll

JSPI Capital Partners has set out to acquire companies in the lower middle market, bringing expertise in turning around troubled companies that should serve it well in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ira J. Perlmuter, founder and managing director, said that the firm, founded in January, plans to invest $1 million to $7 million to acquire “great companies,” some of which will have have run into temporary trouble. “You can get great bang for the buck in that end of the market and really help these companies,” said Perlmuter (pictured). The firm plans to be industry-agnostic.’

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Secondary market pioneer Dayton Carr dies

Dayton Carr, one of the first to recognize the potential in buying limited partnership interests on the secondary market, died early last month at his home in New York City at the age of 78.

“He was totally passionate about secondaries,” said David Tom, a managing director at VCFA Group, the firm Carr founded in 1982. “He couldn’t understand anyone who didn’t think that it was the greatest idea ever. To him it made so much sense to buy [interests in] funds later and cheaper.”

The cause of death was a heart attack, said Tom. Married and divorced twice, Carr did not have children and is survived by his brother Brian Carr.

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Matt Gullen re-joins H.I.G. Capital as managing director in Miami office after stint at Comvest Partners

Matt Gullen

The global pandemic has largely shut down senior hiring.

But H.I.G. Capital found a way around the impracticality of holding in-person interviews, giving office tours, and wooing candidates and their spouses with fancy dinners. It hired someone it already knew–Matt Gullen, who spent more than nine years at the firm from 2007 to 2016 before leaving as a principal to become a partner at Comvest Partners.

As a new managing director in the Miami office, Gullen takes responsibility for finding and executing on both platform and add-on acquisitions in business services, chemicals, telecommunications and manufacturing. Before leaving H.I.G. Capital in 2016 Gullen had served on the boards of several H.I.G. Capital portfolio companies. They include Cornerstone Chemical Company, Lexmark Carpet Mills and Valtris Specialty Chemicals.

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Limited partners stay in the hunt; distressed debt/special-situations funds materialize 

Perhaps remembering bitter lessons from past downturns, institutional investors seem determined not to pull back on their private equity programs.

An early April survey of just over 100 limited partners by placement agent Eaton Partners found nearly two thirds (64 percent) making no changes to their “private market allocations” in the face of Covid-19. Another 15 percent said they are increasing their allocations, while 21 percent said they are cutting their allocations.

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Former Disney exec steps down as operating partner at CD&R as eleventh fundraise gets under way 

Paul Pressler

Paul Pressler, the former president and CEO of clothing retailer Gap Inc, and before that an executive at The Walt Disney Company, has stepped down as a full-time operating partner at buyout shop Clayton, Dubilier & Rice to become an operating advisor.

Pressler is one of at least two CD&R executives to leave their posts since the beginning of the year–a time when the highly-regarded firm has been reportedly gearing up to raise an an eleventh flagship fund.

Christian Storch stepped down as a managing director on the London-based industrials team after more than eight years with the firm; in the CD&R hierarchy managing director sits one step below partner. Pressler declined to comment for this article and PECN was unable to reach Storch for comment.

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Without face-to-face meetings, hiring slows; new searches delayed

Erin Carroll of BraddockMatthews

The hiring picture grew more complicated this week, in the wake of widespread office closures to avoid the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Erin Carroll, a partner in the Boston office of executive recruitment firm BraddockMatthews, which conducts searches for mid- to senior-level professionals in asset management, reported the following in an interview yesterday:

1) For the most part it’s still a go for the searches that the firm has under way for private equity clients. Carroll expects that some searches might be paused, and that the pace of the hiring process will ease across the board. There’s only so much that can be done by phone and video conference. Hiring managers want to meet candidates in person; and likewise candidates don’t want to make a big career move without first seeing the office, meeting their supervisor, and meeting future colleagues.

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Best practices for cultivating relationships with executive recruiters

Solveigh Marcks

So many wonderful relationships in private equity fall apart at the starting line.

An executive recruiter calls you about a job opportunity. You’re happily settled in a lucrative position. In a moment of pique you respond–curtly–that you’re not interested. The executive recruiter makes a note that future contact with you may prove unrewarding.

By the same token, you may recall past job searches where you emailed executive recruiters. You thought they would jump at the chance to help you. But little came of the outreach and you concluded that it was a waste of time.

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Chris Schelling’s new firm hopes to do some hiring

Chris Schelling

“It would be great if we were growing fast enough to hire someone,” said Chris Schelling, who this week said he was leaving Texas Municipal Retirement System to join Windmuehle Companies as managing director in late April.  “That’s the goal.”

Founded in 2018 by Robert C. Lee III, Windmuehle Companies in Austin, Texas offers an “umbrella” vehicle to which investors “subscribe” without committing capital upfront, said Schelling. Instead, the firm presents investors with individual opportunities, one at a time, that they can opt in or out of.

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