Born in the UK, I grew up living throughout Europe with my parents, variously in Belgium, France, Switzerland and Germany. My primary schooling was mostly conducted in French, and I picked up German along the way. In secondary school, at the British School of Paris, then boarding at Leighton Park School in the UK I was drawn to the sciences and went on to read Inorganic Chemistry at Imperial College in London.
After graduation, I joined Price Waterhouse in London, in an audit group that specialized in industrial and service sector clients. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1992. In addition to classical audit work, I did a lot of “special project” work, and spent 6 months in “Corporate Recovery” as well as a 9 month audit season in the Milan office, thus adding Italian to my languages.
In 1994 became a founder member of the newly formed “Transaction Services” unit, which specialized in financial due diligence, primarily for private equity buyers, but also reporting accountant work for initial public offering and support for public to private takeovers. With my languages I worked on projects mostly in continental Europe including the MBO and IPO of TAG Heuer, the MBO of Geberit in Switzerland, as well as projects in France and Germany.
TAG Heuer invited me to join them as UK Finance Director in 1997, and I supported the integration of this distribution subsidiary into the group for two years before moving to Neuchatel, Switzerland as Group CFO in 1999. By the end of 1999 TAG Heuer had been taken private by LVMH Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy and I supported the creation of the watch and jewellery division and the acquisitions of Zenith and Ebel.
In 2001 I had the opportunity to join an early stage MBO at EurotaxGlass’s, a leading provider of automotive business intelligence and moved to the Zurich area. This business was faced with the challenge of integrating diverse operations in almost 30 European locations and managing a dramtic shift from print to digital media. In the 2006 EurotaxGlass’s business was sold to Candover and I stayed until 2008 before leaving to travel the globe for 6 months.
My most recent challenge between 2009 and 2012 was as CFO of Metalor, one of the world’s largest gold refiners, travelling extensively between the groups operations in Europe, Asia and the Americas. After supporting the sale of the business to a French private equity fund Astorg Partners, I was key in delivering two major acquisitions in the Americas and Asia which transformed Metalor from a refining/Europe centric business to a diversified and global group.
I’m currently looking for my next professional challenge.