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who is a highly experienced private equity manager. He is the Managing Director of Harbert Australia Private Equity. He is also non-executive director of 4 portfolio companies. He has had almost 20 years’ experience in the Financial Services Industry predominantly in management roles and joined Harbert in 2008. He studied a Bachelor of Commerce and has a Graduate Diploma in
Applied Finance and Investment. He is an active member of the Australian Private Equity industry association and has over 10 years’ experience in the private equity sector. How did you land in the private equity sector? After returning to Australia after 8 years working in Europe, I was keen to take a role that saw me acting as ‘principal’ rather than advisor. I was fortunate that ANZ was looking to expand its Private Equity team in South Australia/Northern Territory, and as a South Australian, I thought it was a great opportunity to return home. Success in that role led to me taking on broader responsibilities before becoming the Head of ANZ Private Equity. I then joined Harbert in late 2008 to start our Australian lower-mid market Private Equity Fund. How has the private equity sector challenged or surprised you throughout your career? I’ve so many different businesses that alone creates challenges of understanding new markets, new people and nuances that all require attention. Every business faces different challenges and dissecting those and ensuring those challenges are dealt with in the best fashion is a critical point of my role. The role requires significant travel and large volumes of information to process, thus the need to have a great team around you. What are the big issues playing on your mind? I’d separate them into internal and external issues. Internally, accessing capital is critical to our strategy. We are one of the very few funds investing in our space. Focusing on Victorian and South Australian businesses gives us a distinct advantage in the market and therefore ensuring we have sufficient capital to deploy remains front of mind. Externally I’ve concerns about the quality of ‘middle management’ in Australia. With low levels of unemployment and a very competitive employment market, I believe Australian businesses need to work hard at developing this layer of management; otherwise business performance will be materially affected. So what do you do in down time that doesn’t involve finance/private equity investments? Between family time, work and travel, there isn’t much spare time in my week. I play tennis and table tennis and enjoy collecting wine. I collect books and enjoy most forms of music.