From Associate to Partner
14th December 2020
Frank is a "home-grown" Partner, which is the typical path at Apax. He deeply believes in this model given the long-term nature of private equity investment and Apax's culture.
“The big benefit of growing people internally is that you really get to know them. What we do is low repetition and outcomes are difficult to attribute to individuals’ actions. Getting to know each other really well, to understand and trust each other is therefore critical but takes time. That’s why it makes sense to grow talent from the bottom up.”
Frank's journey at Apax started in 2000 when he was one of the first employees that Apax hired pre-MBA – a now-standard practice. After two years working in the firm’s Munich office, he attended Harvard Business School, an experience he considers very valuable.
“The MBA program gave me the opportunity to learn more broadly from a wide variety of interesting people and explore different areas of interest, but in the end I concluded that what I really wanted to do was to continue my career at Apax,” says Frank. “I also made a lot of really good friends there.”
Frank returned after a year in London to the Munich office before considering a move to either New York or back to London. He decided on London where he now lives with his young family. A flexible working lifestyle is important to him.
“I find I am able to organise my work week so I can still spend enough time with my family, in particular with my kids. That is extremely important to me and I feel very privileged that I can do this while having a rewarding career.”
In 2009 Frank had the opportunity to change sector teams. “That might not sound such a big deal, but I had the choice to pick my sector and it was exciting to reconsider which area I wanted to build deep knowledge and a network in. I chose Services.”
“The big benefit of growing people internally is that you really get to know them.”
The most rewarding aspect of the job, in Frank’s view, is its variety.
“I’ve worked across four continents and many different geographies, with investments in Portugal, Italy, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the UK, Canada and China. I have spent time with a number of the Apax teams abroad, such as in Israel or India, and I very much enjoy helping out in that way – it makes the job very interesting.”
Similarly, the role offers vast intellectual variety. “The beauty of our job is that it’s incredibly stimulating – we touch so many different disciplines: law, accounting, human resources, strategy, technology, capital markets, fund raising and investor relations, as well as people leadership both internally and across portfolio companies.”
Frank is passionate about partnering with investment companies and teams to help them realise their potential. “Having worked with a company, like for instance Azelis, for many years and seeing the team coming together, achieving big goals and driving ever improving performance is great. To have been part of a journey that leaves a company and all its stakeholders in a better place makes me extremely proud.”
He also relishes the actual investment process, and its requirement for looking beyond the horizon and considering “how industries evolve, how one can drive value in an existing investment, where disruption may come from. All those aspects are fundamentally different and very interesting. It is difficult to see how this job can ever get old.”
"Getting to know each other really well, to understand each other and trust each other is critical but takes time. That’s why it makes sense to grow people from the bottom up.”