Dubai International Capital has switched over the management team in its private equity division as its focus shifts from dealmaking to portfolio monitoring amid the current economic crisis.
Sylvain Denis and Alan Hyslop are to leave in the coming weeks. They will be replaced by Dubai-based David Smoot, who will take the role of CEO, Private Equity, and Eric Kump, managing director, who will lead DIC’s European private equity operations from London.
A spokesman for DIC said the reshuffle reflected a complete change of focus within the private equity division of the firm. As a result of the economic crisis, the emphasis was now on “the return of equity, not the return on equity”, he said.
“Our focus in private equity is to manage the assets we’ve got – in this market of falling valuations and so much uncertainty, we are not focused on making new acquisitions,” he said.
“What we need for the next year, maybe two or three, is a different approach focusing on portfolio companies. This requires a slightly different skill set to the team we have now.”
Denis has been with the firm since its inception in 2004. Hyslop joined in early 2005. The DIC spokesman described their departure as “completely amicable” and said the Dubai-government backed investment firm “could not have had two better dealmakers”.
Smoot joined DIC as managing director in July 2008 after 11 years at Morgan Stanley in New York, where he co-founded the private equity division.
Commenting on the promotion, Sameer Al Ansari, executive chairman and chief executive officer, Dubai International Capital, said: “His extensive hands-on experience of managing assets in difficult economic conditions leaves me in no doubt that he is ideally positioned to lead the DIC Private Equity division and DIC’s portfolio companies through the current downturn and identify the opportunities that will emerge as asset prices continue to fall.”
Kump meanwhile joined the firm last year after 13 years with the Merrill Lynch Global Private Equity Group.
DIC invests on behalf of the government of Dubai and select third party investors. It is yet to open up its private equity platform to third party clients.