James Moore: Moulton is not the type to retire to his rose bushes

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The Independent Online

Outlook Alchemy Partners without Jon Moulton is like toast without jam. Unthinkable. And yet the doyen of the private equity industry is departing the firm he created after a spectacular bust up with Dominic Slade, who heads the firm's buyout arm and was elected to replace him as managing partner. The latter chose to grind in the stilleto by wishing his former boss "a long and happy retirement". He should be so lucky.

Moulton may no longer be a spring chicken, but he appears to have lost none of his vim, and while he admits that it has not all been plain sailing at Alchemy, he has no time for Mr Slade's remedy – turning the firm that might have found a profitable future for Rover had the Government allowed it to try – into a specialist financial services outfit. In a controversial industry populated by silent sharks, Moulton has proved a one-off, with more eloquence and charm than the rest of them put together. It was almost pathetic the way his rivals cowered under his wing as he offered a robust defence of the industry before a hostile Treasury Select Committee.

A man like Moulton is not built to spend his days with his rose bushes. In his letter to investors he signs off with a cryptic comment "I would do it again – but better". Could that be the start of something? It is to be hoped that it is.

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