Meridiam ramps up with new hires

The French infrastructure fund manager has hired Olivier Garnier, formerly of monoline Assured Guaranty, as its chief operating officer for North America and Jean François Marco, from Antin Infrastructure Partners, as a senior investment director, based in Paris.

French infrastructure fund Meridiam has hired a new chief operating officer for its North American operations and a new senior investment director for its Paris office.

Olivier Garnier, a former managing director for project finance and utilities at monoline Assured Guaranty, becomes Meridiam’s new chief operating officer for North America. Prior to joining the monoline, Garnier was a vice-president at French bank Credit Lyonnais from 1991 to 1996.

Jean François Marco joins Meridiam as a senior investment director from rival Paris-based fund Antin Infrastructure Partners, the energy-focused fund with a target of €1 billion which recently reached second close on €515 million. Marco was a vice-president at Antin for the last two years. Before that, he was a structured finance manager at VINCI Concessions and a financial engineering manager at Bouygues.

Meridiam is currently in the process of raising a second, €1 billion infrastructure fund. Its first, €600 million greenfield infrastructure fund has 16 projects in its portfolio and had a very busy 2009 that saw it participate in many of the year’s flagship deals including Poland’s €1.6 billion A2 highway, Slovakia’s €1.8 billion R1 road and the US’ $2 billion North Tarrant Expressway in Texas.

The fund swept the board at Infrastructure Investor’s inaugural awards for 2009, taking home four trophies, including European Infrastructure Fund Manager of the Year.