Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » Lynn Fordham becomes CEO in SVG restructuring

Lynn Fordham

Lynn Fordham is settling into her first six weeks as chief executive officer
at private equity group SVG Capital following a surprise promotion to the role,
having served as finance director for just under a year.

In addition to taking on her first CEO role, Fordham continues to have line
responsibility for the finance function which continues to report to her. A
spokesperson for SVG said the FTSE-250 company has no immediate plans to appoint
a replacement FD. She also remains on the investment committee.

Fordham joined SVG in July 2008 from house-builder Barratt Developments,
where she held an interim role covering mergers and acquisitions, integration
and strategy.

This structure reflects SVG’s strategy in punishing times for the private
equity industry. Having restructured its balance sheet and led a £171m rights
issue last Christmas, Fordham now heads up a strategic review across the
business, but remains responsible for the balance sheet and is tasked with
strengthening the capital base in 2009-10. In the year to 31 December 2008,
SVG’s net assets per share fell by 64% and shareholder returns shrank 88% in
2008, while it received distributions of just £2.3m while paying £23.6m in
investor calls.

Fordham’s promotion is the latest in a rash of executive changes at SVG.
Andrew Williams, director of SVG Capital and CEO of its SVG Advisers business,
left by mutual consent in May. He was succeeded by head of equities Tony Dalwood
at the same time as Fordham was made CEO. Chairman Nicholas Ferguson, who said
Fordham was “the right person to take the company forward”, had been caretaking
Williams’s roles. “Lynn has played a vital role in the transformation of the
company’s balance sheet and the development of group strategy,” he added.
Non-executive directors Anthony Habgood, chairman of Whitbread and Reed
Elsevier, and Damon Buffini, Permira chairman, left the business in May.

Now regarded as one of private equity’s most important female executives ­
alongside Julia Wilson, FD at 3i, which re-entered the FTSE-100 from the
FTSE-250 in June ­ Fordham has built a strong presence in financial management
among leading British businesses in the past 15 years and achieved the chief
executive role in double-quick time. She was deputy CFO at BAA before joining
Barratt Developments and has held audit and risk positions at pharmaceutical
retailer Boots and security business Chubb.

A charted accountant who trained at Peat Marwick, Mitchell & Co, Fordham
punctuated stints in financial roles with ED&F Man, British American Tobacco
and Mobil Group by setting up a consultancy business.

Click here for more
about Julia Wilson’s appointment at 3i.