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Ex-Invensys CEO joins Star Capital Partners

The London-based infrastructure-focused private equity firm has hired former Invensys CEO Rick Haythornthwaite.

European infrastructure specialist Star Capital Partners has appointed former Invensys CEO Rick Haythornthwaite as a managing director.

Haythornthwaite has joined Star Capital Partners’ senior management team, which currently comprises chief executive Tony Mallin and managing director Stephen Wright.

Haythornthwaite: another industry executive lured by private equity

Haythornthwaite, 50, was previously chief executive officer of listed engineering group Invensys from October 2001 until May 2005, and has held senior positions at BP (where he began his career and spent 17 years), Blue Circle Industries, Cookson Group and Premier Oil.

He is currently a non-executive director of ICI and chairman of the Better Regulation Commission in the UK.

“Rick’s skill base complements what we’ve got on board already, and he’ll help originate opportunities in the sectors he is familiar with,” Tony Mallin, chief executive of Star Capital, told PEO. “Because of his operating experience, he will bring an added dimension to the strategies we use for optimising the assets we invest in.”

Haythornthwaite follows other senior industry executives to make the move into private equity. In January 2005, former CEO of media business information provider United Business Media (UBM), Lord Hollick, joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ London office as a managing director.

Greg Dyke, former director general of the BBC, joined European buyout firm Apax Partners’ media advisory board in October 2004. In December 2005, Lord John Birt, Dyke’s successor as director general at the BBC and a strategic advisor to the prime minister, was hired by UK private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners as an advisor.

London-headquartered Star Capital Partners completed its first exit in September 2005 with the sale of Inexus, an independent UK gas and electricity transportation company, to Australian investor Challenger Infrastructure Fund for £465 million (€677 million; $823 million).

Star Capital Partners raised €581 million for its debut fund in 2001 and, according to market sources, the firm is currently in the market to raise €600 million for its second fund. Mallin declined comment on fundraising plans.

Star Capital Partners targets the oil and gas, transport, utilities, telecommunications, healthcare and industrial sectors.