Hermes director leaves to head care homes group

Chris Clark, an investment director at UK mid-market investor Hermes Private Equity, will leave the firm this Friday.

Hermes Private Equity, the mid-market buyout arm of Hermes Pensions Management, will lose one of its founders at the end of the week.

Chris Clark, an investment director at Hermes Private Equity, has resigned from the firm and will leave on Friday.

Clark said that he will be leaving to head up an elderly care homes group that he set up two years ago: “The group has now grown to four care homes in the wider Midlands and we have a number of acquisition opportunities currently. I’m going to run the business full-time as chief executive. It was a very difficult decision to leave but an opportunity I couldn’t resist.”

Clark was part of the founding team of Hermes Private Equity in April 2002. Before Hermes, Clark was a manager in the corporate value consulting group at PricewaterhouseCoopers and in the firm’s audit and business advisory services group.

Clark said that there would be a number of new recruits to Hermes Private Equity “after the Summer” in the direct buyouts business, private equity funds and infrastructure investment portfolio.

Hermes Private Equity currently has nine investment professionals, including Clark. The firm closed its second fund, Hermes Private Equity Partners II, with £250 million (€363 million) of commitments, last September.

Clarke’s move is unusual given the number of senior executives to make the move into private equity, such as Rick Haythornthwaite, the former chief executive of listed engineering group Invesys who joined Star Capital Partners in January. The same month, Lord Hollick, the former chief exec of United Business Media, joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ London office as managing director. Greg Dyke and Lord John Birt, former director generals at the BBC, provide advisory duties at Apax Partners and Terra Firma Capital Partners respectively.

Brian Larcombe, chief executive of 3i until 2004, is currently deputy chairman and senior non-executive director at listed online gaming company Partygaming. Last year, Michael Gross, one of the founders at Apollo Management, stepped down from the firm to set up his own entrepreneurial venture.