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OUR PEOPLE NEW JOINERS

Welcoming new team members

In the past 12 months, Equistone has appointed talented individuals to its teams across Europe.

OLIVER MEAKIN JOINED Equistone’s UK team in March 2021 as Senior Portfolio Adviser. As the team’s first portfolio-focused executive, Oliver’s appointment marks an evolution in the UK team’s strategy towards specialised support around value creation.
Oliver has deep private equity operational experience and worked closely with Dominic Geer and Richard Briault when he was brought in as CEO to work on the turnaround of Gaucho.

The move in-house attracted Oliver because it combines the parts of being a CEO that “I liked the best, and frankly I was best at.” This includes strategic direction and planning, team assessment and execution at pace – or as he puts it, “Is the bus going in the right direction, have we got the right people on the bus, are they sitting in the right seats and are we going at the optimal speed?”

In some firms, there can be tension between operating partners and the deal team. Oliver recognised this risk, but the interview process suggested it would not be the case with Equistone. “It was clear that the Equistone team were really open to bringing in someone with operating experience. The extended team want to be challenged.”

In addition, having been CEO of several private equity-backed companies, Oliver has an empathy and an understanding of the pressures that CEOs are under, and what is required from private equity. “Having been a CEO of private equity-backed businesses, I hope to be able to add value by having a foot in both camps.”

Equistone's Yushra Raheem

In November, Yushra Raheem joined Equistone’s operations team as Legal Counsel from Kirkland & Ellis, where she had focused on private equity fund formation and structured secondary transactions. Yushra will work closely with Equistone’s Finance and IR teams, assisting on general engagements with investors as well as supporting the firm’s legal function more broadly.

Yushra says one of the big appeals of going in-house is the breadth of legal and advisory work involved on a day-to-day basis. “My background is fund structuring, so I am excited to develop a more holistic understanding of the issues that face a private equity business and to see the full investment cycle from fundraising to exit. With an increasingly complex regulatory landscape and focus on strong corporate governance and ESG considerations, it feels like a timely and very interesting time to be joining a private equity fund as legal counsel.”

Yushra was also attracted to Equistone’s well-respected brand, international presence, and the fact that “everyone was open and approachable, with a genuine interest in developing and nurturing team members. It felt like a perfect fit.”

Everyone was open and approachable, with a genuine interest in developing and nurturing team members. It felt like a perfect fit.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Sebastian Wintgens, Mark Feiler and Josh Aalbers.
LEFT TO RIGHT: Sebastian Wintgens, Mark Feiler and Josh Aalbers.

Sebastian Wintgens joined the Munich office in July 2021 as a Director in the DACH/NL team. Prior to joining Equistone, Sebastian was a Managing Director in the European Technology and Services investment banking practice of Raymond James. His appointment is an important component to the team’s technology sector strategy (see Local View).

Sebastian is based in the firm’s Munich office. He is focusing on sourcing opportunities, deal execution and portfolio management.

“I have always been focused on mid- and long-term relationships, whether with entrepreneurs or private equity clients, facilitating trustful exchange and helping to shape a company’s strategy. I am now excited to do this for Equistone and its investors in the technology sector.

Mark Feiler joined Equistone’s DACH/NL team in October from strategy consultancy Stern Stewart & Co. He was introduced by Philipp Gauß, who joined Equistone from the same consultancy in 2019.

Mark was attracted to the culture in the Munich office, with its “good distribution of people with different backgrounds” and a strong, trusting culture that also applies to portfolio management relationships. “The culture at Equistone fosters diverse opinions and an entrepreneurial spirit,” he says.

After a month in the role, Mark has been pleasantly surprised at how quickly he has been involved in topics. “From day one I have been involved in all processes which guarantees a tremendously steep learning curve.” Mark has been enjoying the diversity of topics – from financial modelling, to recruiting and sourcing activity.

In November, Josh Aalbers became the second professional to join Equistone’s Amsterdam office as part of the DACH/NL team (alongside Hubert van Wolfswinkel). Josh joined from Lazard, where he spent five years covering the Benelux region out of the Amsterdam office.

Equistone is becoming increasingly active in the region, and Josh sees plenty of opportunity for further growth and future investments. “It’s exciting to work together with Hubert and the team to further expand in the Dutch and Belgian markets. There is a lot of activity in the Netherlands and Belgium and both markets have really kept up since Covid as well.”

Josh said he was attracted to Equistone’s high-performance and down-to-earth culture and the fact its broad investment mandate will make best use of his skills. “Continuously analysing all types of companies and fully understanding their business models to ultimately identify value where others might not: that is something that truly fascinates me.” 

A full version of this article appeared in PLATFORM 06, Winter 2021/22