Smooth operators: 7 PE firms that added operations execs in January

AEI, Concord, Permira, Vistria and others recruited pros with hands-on experience running companies.

For most PE firms, the beginning of the year is a busy time for people moves, and this January was no exception. What felt new to us at PE Hub this year was a preponderance of new hires involving folks with hands-on operational experience. That’s a trend we’ve seen for several years, but it accelerated last month, as private equity firms sought to strengthen and smooth operations at their portfolio companies across different sectors, as the economy tightens. Below, we have rounded up seven firms that deepened their operations benches with January announcements. They appear in alphabetical order by firm.

1. AEI hired vice president

Dev Rudra has joined AE Industrial Partners Portfolio Strategy and Optimization Group.

Before joining Boca Raton, Florida-based AEI, Rudra was managing director of GE Aviation’s Singapore engine part repair and manufacturing operation. Previously he served in various roles at United Technologies, most recently as director of Worldwide Repair Strategic Operations. He started his aviation career with Pratt & Whitney.

In his new role, Rudra will work closely with AEI’s partners to improve operational performance across the firm’s portfolio companies.

2. Arsenal hired operating partner

Arsenal Capital Partners, based in New York, hired Jim Rock as an operating partner.

Most recently, Rock was CEO and President of Seegrid Corporation. Prior to Seegrid, Rock was president of Vocollect Healthcare. He also founded and led Akustica, a semiconductor company focused on consumer electronics that was acquired by Robert Bosch GmbH.

In his new role, Rock will work in Arsenal’s industrial growth team and focus on investment themes relating to industrial technologies, including automation.

3. Bernhard Capital appointed operating partner

Baton Rouge-based Bernhard Capital Partners hired Rhoman Hardy to work closely with portfolio company management teams to identify and implement operational improvements, optimize business functions and identify opportunities for scalable growth.

Hardy spent the entirety of his career at Shell, where he most recently served as senior vice president, chemicals and products, for the US Gulf Coast.

“Rhoman’s distinguished track record of driving operational excellence and creating value at scale is a natural fit, and I am confident our portfolio companies, investors and team members will benefit from his expertise as we continue to expand our portfolio of infrastructure and services-focused businesses,” said Jeff Koonce, a partner at Bernhard Capital.

4. Concord hired special advisor

Concord Health Partners, based in Summit, New Jersey, brought aboard Dr Harsh Trivedi as special adviser to help identify potential investments and support Concord’s portfolio company management teams improve offerings and drive adoption of products and services.

Trivedi is the president and CEO of Sheppard Pratt, the Baltimore-based private, nonprofit provider of services related to mental health, special education, substance use and developmental disability; as well as other social services. He also serves as board chair of the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare.

“Covid-19 clearly exacerbated the challenges of behavioral health and further exposed the need for expanded access to care and new innovative solutions that will improve quality and outcomes,” said James Olsen, founder and managing partner at Concord. “Healthcare providers and payors are now more than ever focused on addressing the critical need of behavioral health in the US. Dr Trivedi is one of the foremost experts in the field of behavioral health, and his addition further differentiates our expertise in the healthcare investment space and highlights the strength of our strategic model.”

5. Odyssey hired head of portfolio operations

Odyssey Investment Partners of New York based recruited Daniel Tiemann as a managing principal to head portfolio operations. Previously, he led the deal advisory and strategic practice of KPMG LLP for 17 years.

“Dan brings a wealth of relevant experience that will be highly valuable as we work closely with management teams to implement our operating strategies and grow their businesses,” said Brian Kwait, Odyssey Investment Partners CEO in a statement.

6. Permira brought aboard two advisors

London-headquartered Permira Advisers appointed Kelly Grier as a senior advisor to its global services team. Grier is based in New York. Previously, she spent decades at EY in the US in different senior roles.

“Kelly brings unrivaled experience in leading one of the most successful professional services companies globally through a period of robust growth,” Daniel Brenhouse, a partner at Permira, and Caroline Carr, a partner and chief human resources officer, said in a statement. “We look forward to benefiting from Kelly’s perspectives as we continue to execute on our global strategy in the services sector and help our management teams develop world-class people propositions.”

The firm also added Carolyn Everson as a senior advisor. Based in New York, Everson previously held senior roles at Meta, Instacart, Microsoft and Viacom’s MTV Networks.

“Carolyn has been at the heart of the internet and digital media economy for more than two decades, building high performance teams and delivering exceptional results across the globe,” said Permira partners Dipan Patel and Brian Ruder. “Her experience will be instrumental in both identifying new investment opportunities and helping our management teams realize their growth ambitions.”

7. Vistria added healthcare policy operating partner

In her new role, former White House special assistant Elizabeth Jurinka will partner with management teams as they continue to position their organizations for exceptional growth and quality outcomes, Vistria Group noted.

Jurinka is joining Vistria after nearly two decades on Capitol Hill and in the White House. Most recently, she served as special assistant to the President in the Biden/Harris Administration. Prior to that role, she served as chief healthcare advisor to US Senator Ron Wyden and the Senate Finance Committee.