Claerhout leaves Searchlight to become ADIA’s head of PE Americas

Andrew Claerhout joins the $650bn sovereign wealth fund after it raised its allocation to PE up to 10%, per its latest annual report.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the world’s sixth biggest investor in private equity according to affiliate title Private Equity International‘s GI 100, has appointed a head of Americas for the asset class, following an overhaul of its internal processes in recent years.

Andrew Claerhout, former partner and co-head of infrastructure at Searchlight Capital Partners, started in the role in July, according to an email seen by Private Equity International. He joins Sherwood Dodge, global head of private equities, and Nancy Ku, head of Asia Pacific private equities, in the PE department, as per ADIA’s website.

Claerhout had joined Searchlight in late 2019 to help the private equity firm raise its first infrastructure fund, which is targeting $1.5 billion. Prior to that, he had spent 13 years at Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, including more than four years as head of its infrastructure and natural resources group.

ADIA – which manages an estimated $650 billion, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute – has overhauled its internal structure and processes in the last year, following a review of its operations, which it kickstarted in 2019, Bloomberg reported this week.

The changes include a reduction in headcount of almost 10 percent of the fund’s workforce and a shift to data-driven investing, the report noted. It also plans to bolster its private equity investment team to up to 120 in the next three years.

It raised its allocation band for private equity from between 2 percent and 8 percent in 2019, to between 5 percent and 10 percent in 2020, according to its latest annual report, published last September.

ADIA completed 24 direct investments – excluding early-stage venture capital transactions – in 2020, up from 18 the previous year. Direct and co-investments represented 55 percent of its overall deployment for the year, compared with 45 percent in 2019.

In the US, the investor has backed funds managed by Thomas H Lee Partners, The Carlyle Group and  Apollo Global Management, PEI data shows.

ADIA targets financial services, healthcare, industrials, technology and consumer sectors, according to PEI data.