BGF today announces that our Chief Investment Officer, Andy Gregory, is to be appointed by the Board as Chief Executive Officer, effective September 2022. Following a decade of successful leadership, Executive Chair Stephen Welton will step up to Non-Executive Chair, effective January 2023. This process has been supported by an independent leadership advisory panel, working with the Board and BGF’s shareholders over the last three years, and is part of preparations for the next chapter of BGF’s growth.
Since 2011, BGF has grown to become the most active growth capital investor in the UK and Ireland. Under Stephen’s leadership, BGF has invested over £3bn in 400+ businesses, across its regional network of 16 offices. During this time, Stephen also served as a member of HM Treasury’s Patient Capital Review, the Council of Innovate UK, and the Prime Minister’s business advisory council.
Prior to his role as Chief Investment Officer, Andy was BGF’s Head of Investments for the UK & Ireland. Throughout this period, BGF experienced record levels of investment and exit activity. Andy has been with BGF since 2011, joining as regional director for the North of England, having previously held senior roles in the private equity industry, including at LivingBridge and Bridgepoint.
To support the new leadership structure, new appointments have also been made to BGF’s Executive Committee, effective January 2023. These include Richard Taylor (Head of Growth), Ben Barker (Head of Portfolio) and Cate Poulson (Head of Talent Network). Meanwhile, Patrick Graham (Head of Scotland & Northern Ireland), Neil Inskip (Head of North West & Midlands) and Ned Dorbin (Head of South West & Wales) will all join BGF’s Investment Committee.
Stephen Welton said: “From a standing start in 2011 and spurred on by the global financial crisis, BGF’s leadership, shareholders, regulators and other stakeholders envisaged a new equity investment platform that would deliver long-term value creation and patient capital…I could not be prouder of what has been achieved and would like to thank our portfolio companies, our team and our shareholders for their enduring support”.
“Andy has delivered strong investment performance as CIO, knows the market incredibly well, and will continue to drive forward the BGF model and mission…As Non-Executive Chair, I will remain a champion of fostering the BGF culture and efforts to support a more diverse and inclusive investment environment, with a strong focus on ESG and the scaling of BGF’s charitable foundation.”
Alongside this news, BGF has also declared its maiden dividend of £30m to its shareholders in the UK: HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and Standard Chartered. BGF has not drawn on committed shareholder capital since June 2021, with new investment activity now being funded by cash realisations, and any excess returns going back to shareholders.
“I am delighted to be taking on the role of CEO, with Stephen’s support as Non-Executive Chair. We will continue to drive forward our investment activity and deliver exits that create long-term value for the entrepreneurs we back, as well as for our shareholders. Against the backdrop of several major macro events impacting the UK and Irish economies, there has never been a more important time to back our entrepreneurial wealth creators.”
Andy Gregory, incoming CEO, BGF
BGF saw a £571m total cash return from exits in 2021 (more than twice as much as in 2020) with an average money multiple of 2x and a 23.4% gross IRR. Meanwhile, exit returns in H1 2022 have continued this trend, with £391m realised and a 23% gross IRR.