This month, we welcome Richard Green, Chairman of August Equity, to our regular series of interviews with leading figures in the UK’s business community.
Hello Richard, tell us about August Equity and your role as Chairman
August Equity is an independent private equity firm investing between £10m and £25m in UK based companies. It has a strong track record based on acquiring controlling interests in rapidly growing service-oriented companies and building then into businesses of scale by means of both bolt-on acquisitions and organic growth.
As Chairman I take responsibility for overseeing corporate governance and chairing the investment committee as well as a close involvement in our investor relations and sitting on the board of some portfolio companies.
How has the economic recession impacted your business?
Most of our companies have come through the recession well, predominantly because we have focused in the last few years on investing in areas with little cyclicality. On a positive note recessions often provide some of the best investment opportunities for private equity firms and we are seeing good deal flow in areas such as IT managed services and outsourcing where companies and the government are looking for efficiencies and better value.
What challenges are you facing over the next 12 months?
The next 12 months will bring some exciting challenges including we hope some successful exits from investments and raising a new fund
Do you think that the government should intervene more?
Venture capital and private equity can do a lot to help restore our economy and drive growth. The immediate need is to boost the financing of SMEs and start-ups and in the medium term, boost the competitiveness of our tax and regulatory regime to encourage investment and create jobs.
How does the South West business scene compare to London?
One of the advantages in operating in the South West is the size and proximity of the business community means close relationships and friendships can be easily forged. London with all the activities that go on understandably doesn’t have the same community feel. However there is still a buzz and excitement working in London which is something I enjoy
Do you have any Non-Executive Directorships? If so, what have you learned from the experience?
I have been lucky enough to be a non-executive director on the board of several exciting private companies. The success of a board can be hugely influenced by the chairman and I have learned different things from each chairman I have worked with. Alongside a good chairman the willingness of the executive directors to be challenged and listen to their non-execs can make a big difference and the most able and confident managers are always prepared to do this. Finally ensuring boards have a focus on the future and don’t get stuck in the detail of what has happened in the past is vital.
Do you have any advice that you’d pass on to a newly appointed company director?
Get to know the business and executive team well, especially management below board level. Encourage the highest standards of governance and ethical behaviour and don’t be afraid to ask the “dumb” question.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy most sports although with the exception of golf and skiing I do more watching nowadays. I also enjoy travelling and have a taste for fine wine.
Who is your hero / personal inspiration?
Warren Buffet is my investment hero. I read his letters to shareholders every year and always learn something. His track record is phenomenal.
What is on your I-Pod and what are you reading right now?
Train Your Golf Brain by Dr Karl Morris, although my handicap hasn’t come down yet. I am about to read Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome.
Why did you choose Moon Consulting?
Moon Consulting can be relied upon to come up with a range of good candidates for both senior management roles across all functions as well as non-executive director options
What has been your experience of working with our company?
A highly regarded local team, well connected and above all fun people