Apax Funds’ strategy is to drive superior returns through sector expertise, geographic flexibility and transformational ownership. To that end, the Operational Excellence Practice (“OEP”) and the firm’s vertical domain expertise are brought to bear throughout the lifecycle of a deal to drive value. The OEP is comprised of resources possessing deep operational expertise and broad acumen as general managers. OEP resources “get in the boat” with management teams to drive results.
Next: Distinct Approach
"Our mission is to develop the people, experience, skills, tools and partnerships necessary to enable deal teams to make superior investment decisions and management teams to capture growth opportunities that drive sustainable equity value"
- The Apax Operational Excellence Practice Mission Statement
Operational Excellence Practice:
The structure and capabilities of the OEP have evolved to meet the needs of deal teams and portfolio company executives over time. There are currently 9 vertical practice areas, which have been developed based on the evolving nature of the growth opportunities and challenges we face in our investments. The OEP combines the experiences of its distinctive in-house team with a powerful network of fit-for-purpose “preferred partners”. These efforts are augmented with a coordinated process for best practice sharing and cross portfolio networking, called “KnowledgeNow”, and innovative tools and technologies developed to accelerate growth across the portfolio using big data analytics.
Next: Specialized Team
Operational Excellence Practice:
The OEP team is comprised of operating professionals who bring diverse experiences and backgrounds to our vertical practice areas from some of the world’s leading organizations. The group operates with a global remit, traveling frequently to engage directly on projects and initiatives alongside portfolio executives and investment professionals.
Operational Excellence Team, Full Time Practice Resources
Seth Brody, Global Head of Operational Excellence
Joined Apax in 2008. Leads the OEP globally, setting strategy and driving development of team and capabilities.
Prior Professional Experience: Razorgator, Orbitz Worldwide, priceline, Netmarket
Education: BA, Yale University. MBA, Harvard Business School.
Key Portfolio Engagements: Trader Canada, Cole Haan, rue21, Cengage, Aptos, Bankrate
Recent Due DiligenceEfforts: Wehkamp, FULLBEAUTY Brands, Answers Corporation
Directorships: Bankrate, Answers, Aptos
Practice Areas: Digital Acceleration, Analytics & Big Data, 100 Day Execution, Change & Transformation, ESG
Jonathan Simmons, Operating Executive
Joined Apax in 2012. Entrepreneurial thinker around digital and big data. Customer acquisition specialist.
Prior Professional Experience: ClearSearch Media (founder), Walkaway Media (founder), priceline
Education: BA, Middlebury College
Key Portfolio Engagements: rue21, New Look, Orange Switzerland, Answers
Recent Due DiligenceEfforts: FULLBEAUTY Brands, Answers, Zap (Israel), Wehkamp
Practice Areas: Digital Acceleration, Analytics, 100 Day Execution
Marty Guinoo, Operating Executive
Joined Apax in 2016. Experienced Chief Executive and strategist. Deep revenue management expertise
Prior Professional Experience: Sentient Jet, Icon Parking, Priceline.com, Starwood Hotels
Education: BA, Harvard College
Practice Areas: Portfolio Efficiency and Change & Transformation
Will Harman, Principal - Portfolio Efficiency
Joined Apax in 2014. Corporate efficiency and supply chain expert, focused on EU and ROW portfolio.
Prior Professional Experience: PA Consulting, Jaguar Cars
Education: BSc, University of Bath. MSc, University of Bristol. MA, University of Warwick.
Key Portfolio Engagements: GHG, Takko, Exact, EVRY
Recent Due DiligenceEfforts: Azelis
Practice Areas: Portfolio Efficiency, 100 Day Execution, Change & Transformation, ESG
Maisie Sather, Human Capital Practice Head
Joined Apax in 2019. Experienced human capital professional driving team alignment through management assessment.
Prior Professional Experience: YSC, Deloitte, BT Global Services
Education: BA (Hons), University of Oxford. MSc, City University, London
Jessica Ross, Vice President - Digital
Joined Apax in 2014. Possesses strong digital retail experience combined with powerful analytics skillset.
Prior Professional Experience: Ralph Lauren, Citibank
Education: BA, University of Michigan
Key Portfolio Engagements: Cole Haan, rue21
Recent Due DiligenceEfforts: FULLBEAUTY Brands, Wehkamp, Zap (Israel)
Practice Areas: Digital Acceleration, Analytics
Dave Burgess, Vice President - Search Technologies
Joined Apax in 2016. Expert in search engine optimization techniques, best practices, and technologies.
Prior Professional Experience: Ayima (US Founder), TouchLocal, Scoot, BBC Worldwide
Education: University College London
Key Portfolio Engagements: Exact, Takko, Wehkamp
Practice Areas: Digital Acceleration, Analytics & Big Data
Velina Butti, Vice President - Portfolio Efficiency
Joined Apax in 2015. Functional expert driving savings through complex organizations, focused on N. America.
Prior Professional Experience: J.Crew, Global eProcure
Education: BA, Georgetown University
Key Portfolio Engagements: Genex Services, Aptos
Practice Areas: Portfolio Efficiency, 100 Day Execution, Change & Transformation
Michaela Merlin-Jones, Senior Associate
Joined Apax in 2019. Cost efficiency expert focused on leveraging Apax proprietary data to drive enterprise savings into the portfolio.
Prior Professional Experience: Efficio, Deloitte
Education: MA, University of Cambridge
Operational Excellence Team, Exclusive Advisers
Laef Olson, Operating Advisor - Enterprise Tech
Joined Apax in 2017. Experienced leader driving cloud transformation and digital innovation.
Prior Professional Experience: Oracle Corporation, RightNow Technologies, Orbitz Worldwide, Cars.com, First Chicago NBD
Education: BA, Wheaton College. MBA, University of Chicago
Practice Areas: Enterprise Technology, Digital
Nick Iozzo, Operating Advisor - User Experience
Joined Apax in 2012. Product development craftsman, leading teams from vision to finished user experience.
Prior Professional Experience: Wize Commerce, TandemSeven (founder)
Education: BS & MS, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Key Portfolio Engagements: rue21, Cengage, Top Right Group, Exact, Bankrate, Cole Haan
Practice Areas: Digital Acceleration, Change & Transformation
Dave Eckley, Operating Advisor - Operations & Logistics
Joined Apax in 2018. Thought leader on logistics, transportation, fulfillment and associated tech.
Prior Professional Experience: Founder, CEO of TradeGlobal
Education: BS, Peru State College.
Key Portfolio Engagements: Moda Operandi, Tosca
Practice Areas: Operations, Enterprise Technology
Ellen de Kreij, Operating Advisor - ESG Initiatives
Joined Apax in 2002. Provides strategic vision and day-to-day leadership for ESG initiatives across Apax.
Prior Professional Experience: Broadview International, Merrill Lynch
Education: Law Degree, Leiden University. MBA, Harvard Business School
Key Portfolio Engagements: Leads all ESG Initiatives Across Apax
Practice Areas: ESG
Julie Canfield, Operating Advisor
Joined Apax in 2019.
Prior Professional Experience: Ernst & Young Consulting, Radiant Systems, NCR, Aptos
Education: BSc, Georgia Institute of Technology
Operational Excellence Team, Support and Coordination
Next: Portfolio Scale
Dasiy Vieira, OEP Team Coordinator
Joined Apax in 2011. Content curation and daily management of Connect@Apax & KnowledgeNow programs.
Prior Professional Experience: Wolfensohn Fund Management., New York Women’s Foundation
Education: BA, Fordham University
Support Areas: Connect@Apax, KnowledgeNow Programs
Harriet Hewett, OEP Personal Assistant
Joined Apax in 2016.
Prior Professional Experience: HSBC Investment Bank, Brand Brewery Events
Education: BSC, Management, University of the West of England
Support Areas: Personal Assistant to the London team
Jelena Sutovic, OEP Administrative Assistant
Joined Apax in 2017.
Prior Professional Experience: FL Mechanical, Belfor
Education: BBA, George Washington University School of Business
Support Areas: Administrative Assistant to the New York team
Operational Excellence Practice:
Innovation and Bespoke Technology
The OEP is comprised largely of former executives. The team’s work in due diligence and across the global portfolio put them in contact with operators on a daily basis. Those executives are engaged in the constant effort to bring products to market, leverage their data to make decisions, and maximize the value of their relationships. The OEP practice leaders view it as an extension of their mission to not only support deal teams and executives during a particular project, but to empower them with connections, tools and technologies that can be used to drive performance on a daily basis.
To that end, the Apax OEP has invested in developing several tools and technologies available only to the Apax portfolio, and engaged in an active process to drive best practice sharing throughout the lifecycle of Apax investments.
The Apax Digital Insights Platform
Portfolio companies are awash in data. Frequently, that data lives in siloes of the organization. Getting data organized and into a standardized system to create a “single source of truth” is frequently an area where the OEP’s Analytics & Big Data practice gets involved.
Apax has invested in developing a highly flexible platform which can ingest data from multiple sources, and through a set of custom technical integrations, provide unique insights for companies to unlock the potential of big data.
Back to the Operational Exellence Practice Overview
Portfolio Performance Monitoring
Marketing and Channel Level Performance
Trend Analysis and Alarming
Operational Excellence Practice:
Leveraging Scale in A Global Portfolio
The power of the Apax network is formidable. Companies in our portfolio employ more than 150,000 people around the globe who conduct business in nearly every conceivable market. There is a vast wealth of operating knowledge and commercial experience on hand.
The OEP team has visibility to this knowledge base through its global engagements. As a team we leverage the scale of our portfolio in many ways:
- Sharing collective knowledge to accelerate speed-to-market and growth via our KnowledgeNow programs
- Utilizing purchasing scale to drive material cost savings in the portfolio
- Documenting and repeating successful programs and engagement models
- Building a proprietary network of present and past Apax portfolio executives via our Connect@Apax platfom
KnowledgeNow: Unleashing the Scale of Collective Experience
The Operational Excellence Practice makes it a priority to proactively facilitate cross-portfolio knowledge sharing, executive networking, and to foster commercial relationships between portfolio companies. Our KnowledgeNow Conference is the premier event for Apax portfolio company executives each year.
See and download past programs
Portfolio Efficiency: Unlocking Savings Through Purchasing Scale
Our Portfolio Efficiency team works every day to use the power of our global portfolio to drive savings with suppliers, vendors, and partners. Since the Portfolio Efficiency vertical began working with portfolio companies in 2012, we have optimized over $1.25bn of spend, driving over $200m of cash EBITDA savings to the bottom line of our investments.
Next: Proprietary Tools and Technology