Thomas Klitbo is a former management consultant and currently Partner at IK Investment Partners based in London. IK Investment Partners is a London-based midmarket private equity house focusing on investments in companies within consumer goods, industrial goods, business services and healthcare in Northern Continental Europe.
How do you see people’s mind-set towards work change?
As a private equity company, we compete against other industries to employ top talent, which will eventually go on to become leaders of the next generation. The criteria by which these bright minds choose their employers have evolved over time. Today, the younger generations when they choose jobs care much more about purpose of what they do than previous generations. This has made start-ups an increasingly popular place to work for MBA graduates, management consultants and investment bankers because of the direct impact and sense of purpose the employees have. Banks have a hard time providing the same and have had to increase wages to retain their relative attractiveness as an employer even for junior levels. I think that private equity is capable of providing a sense of purpose similar to what you find in a start-up, perhaps because you work in smaller groups with a broad range of responsibilities where you can have a real impact.
How does leadership matter to private equity and your portfolio companies?
One of the important driver when we choose a new company to acquire is the people. Especially operating in the midmarket, the people are the essential drivers of the value we wish to create. As such, our first and foremost duty is to align and empower the people within our portfolio companies. The value that private equity creates comes as much from advanced HR and cooperation especially with the executive team, as it does from numbers-crunching.