As BVCA cuts half its staff, banker and economist are set to join

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The Independent Online

Simon Walker, chief executive of the British Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (BVCA), is set to appoint a "senior banker" to the trade body as chief operating officer, amid a shake-up at the group sparked by a review from the accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The overhaul will also result in six of the 12-person staff at the BVCA losing their jobs. They are expected to leave at the end of the month.

Mr Walker is looking to appoint a senior economist at the group. However, his own salary, estimated at £300,000-plus and believed to be the highest of any trade body boss in Britain, is not expected be cut on the back of the review.

An association member said: "The BVCA has now got two people doing the job of one over there at about four times the cost. It's not cheap and they need to start delivering on things."

Filings at Companies House show that the previous chief executive, Peter Linthwaite, who left last year following his disastrous showing in front of the Treasury Select Committee, earned less than £150,000 as the highest-paid director. Mr Linthwaite recently resurfaced as a managing partner at the Carbon Trust Investment Partners group.

Mr Walker, a former communications secretary to the Queen and former director of corporate communications at British Airways and Reuters, was appointed in November last year after Mr Linthwaite's exit. Amid widespread criticism of the private equity industry, he was charged with instigating greater transparency among the body's secretive membership.

Last week he warned his BVCA members: "If we cannot make self-regulation work in disclosure, the case for black-letter legislation will be back with us."

Recently, three leading private equity houses – Permira, Terra Firma and Bridgepoint – all published annual reports for the first time. Terra Firma, run by Guy Hands, produced a 129-page report costing more than £250,000.

Mr Walker said at the time: "I'm very happy with the first reports – the Terra Firma one is a model. Once you've read it, you know more about what Terra Firma does than you would about most public companies."

In contrast, the GMB union described Permira's 78-page offering as "a made-up report, full of self-belief but with no financial detail".