The business on...Lynn Fordham, Chief executive, SVG Group


Not her only job title, we hear?


Some people call her the first lady of private equity (though 3i's finance director, Julia Wilson, might have something to say about that).

What's her background?

She's also come through the finance director route. A chartered accountant by training, she's worked insenior finance roles at Man Group, British American Tobacco, BAA and Boots. She has entrepreneurial nous too, having set up her own consultancy at one stage, but pitched up as finance director at SVG in 2008 after a spell at the housebuilder Barratt Developments.

So when did the top job follow?

A year later in a shake-up at SVG. It got hit rather hard in the wake of the financial crisis and wrote down the value of its portfolio by two-thirds. A cash call followed as it arranged new investment terms with Permira, the private equity giant, into which it feeds much of its funds. Ms Fordham was asked to turn SVG around.

Has she managed to do so?

It's going well. SVG unveiled first-half results yesterday that included a 25 per cent increase in the value of its assets – much more than the markets were expecting – after a string of investments came off.

Like what?

Well, a chunky holding in the fashion group Hugo Boss has shot out the lights. So too has an investment in Galaxy Entertainment, the Chinese casino and hotel operator. Those two produced gains of £186m between them.

An international portfolio, then?

She's an international woman. One of her first jobs was with the US oil giant Mobil, for whom she worked in a string of far-flung outposts: Zaire, Papua New Guinea, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Togo to name but a few. Hong Kong as well.

A sure-footed performer, then?

SVG needed one. Her predecessor, Nicholas Ferguson, was the man who once said he thought many private equity executives paid less tax than their cleaners. Ms Fordham has told journalists: "I do the cleaning in my household and I pay the same tax on that as I do on everything else."

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