Darby poaches former FMO head

Darby Overseas Investments has bolstered its bench, hiring Michael Barth as a managing director. Barth is joining the firm after a stint as the head of Dutch development bank FMO.

Darby Overseas Investments has brought in Michael Barth as a managing director of its global investment arm. Barth’s appointment follows a five-year run as the chief executive of Dutch emerging markets investor Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden NV (FMO).

Michael Barth is joining Darby after a five-year stretch heading FMO’s operations.

According to a statement, Barth will spearhead Darby’s global investment operations, overseeing the launch of new global emerging markets capital funds. He will also play a major role in deal sourcing for the firm’s global platform.

The Washington, DC-based Darby is an emerging markets specialist, with a presence in Latin America, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. The firm, headed by World Bank veteran Richard Frank, has been concentrating on building out its European presence in recent years, and in October dedicated €100 million to mezzanine investments in new European Union nations or countries destined for EU entry in the future.

Darby, a unit of Franklin Templeton Investments, launched the $195 million Darby Latin American Mezzanine Fund in 1999, and in 2002 added an Asian presence by absorbing Prudential Financial’s $246 million Asian Infrastructure Mezzanine Capital Fund. In February of last year, Darby also assumed control of the Central and Eastern Europe-focused private equity fund of Dresdner Kleinwort Capital, a 2000-vintage, $220 million vehicle.

Regarding the appointment of Barth, Darby CEO Richard Frank called the FMO vet a “pioneer in developing the emerging markets asset class”.

Prior to his CEO role at FMO, Barth had served as a director at the World Bank’s Capital Markets Development Department, and he also put in a 15 year stint, ending in 1997, at the World Bank’s private sector arm, International Finance Corp.