Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Renaissance Capital parts with private equity pair

Financial News

February 2 2009

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

Renaissance Capital has parted company with two executives, Richard Olphert and Rory Cullinan, in a second round of job cuts at the Russian emerging markets investment bank, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The Moscow-headquartered bank, run by New Zealander Stephen Jennings, has been cutting costs and retreating to its core Russian market following the sale of a 50% stake in the business last year to billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov.

A Renaissance spokesman declined to comment on the departure of Olphert, chairman of Renaissance’s private equity arm and a leading shareholder. The bank confirmed Cullinan, hired as deputy chairman of Renaissance Partners from private equity firm Permira Partners in August 2007, had left before the start of this year and the private equity team had been pared back to eight from a staff of 12.

Another casualty is global head of communications Simon Moyse, a former adviser to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hired from UK-based press relations agency Finsbury in September last year.

After cutting a quarter of its 1,500 staff in November, Renaissance Capital insiders said a second round of redundancies is under way. RenCap’s London office, which once had 150 employees, has been reduced to a few dozen staff.

The departure of Olphert, a close ally of Jennings, surprised one Renaissance Capital banker, who said: “Richard was the second largest shareholder after Stephen. They lived close to one another, they went on holiday together on Stephen’s Gulfstream jet.”

Renaissance Partners, the private equity firm which raised a $600m fund last year, realised substantial losses through investments in Ukraine and Africa, according to Russian business paper Vedemosti. A Renaissance spokesman declined to comment on the reported losses.

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