Jon Moulton Quits Alchemy Partners

LONDON (Reuters) – Alchemy Partners’ founding partner Jon Moulton has left the company, the private equity firm said on Thursday, as the buyout industry struggles with the aftermath of the credit crisis.

Dominic Slade, who led the firm’s buyout business, will take over take over the helm at Alchemy, with media reporting there had been a difference of opinion between the two, triggering Moulton’s retirement ahead of its scheduled date.

“Alchemy today confirmed that Jon Moulton gave notice of his retirement from Alchemy Partners,” a spokesman said. “This was somewhat earlier than his previously announced retirement date of October 2010.”

The spokesman gave no further detail and did not say what was behind the departure.

Moulton was quoted by www.realbusiness.co.uk as saying in a letter to investors there had been differences of opinion between himself and the other partners.

The Financial Times also said Moulton — who founded Alchemy in 1997 — had left after a disagreement over strategy. Moulton declined to comment, referring enquiries to the company, and would not say if the letter was authentic.

The credit crunch has rocked private equity firms who no longer have access to the heavy borrowing their business model relies on, while the companies they own are suffering in the economic downturn.

Alchemy has held off investing in companies since the autumn of 2008 — when it acquired Ireland’s Noonan Services, a cleaning business — and Moulton said in May he was in no hurry to start buying again.

Moulton at a conference earlier this year warned that close to a third of the private equity industry’s mid-market portfolio companies could fail, as the economic downturn across Europe turned into recession.

By Victoria Howley and Douwe Miedema
(Editing by David Holmes)