Change at Better Capital as founder Mark Aldridge leaves 'amicably'

Simon Pilling, the former chief operating officer of the FTSE 100 group, will become chief executive officer of Better Capital

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The Independent Online

Jon Moulton has appointed a former Capita executive to take the reins of Better Capital, his private equity group, after splitting from his long-term business partner, Mark Aldridge.

Simon Pilling, the former chief operating officer of the FTSE 100 group, will become chief executive officer of Better Capital, which owns a host of firms including the fashion chain Jaeger and double-glazing firm Everest.

Mr Aldridge resigned from the company over the weekend. The split is amicable, according to people close to the group. “Mark and I remain good friends,” Mr Moulton said.

Mr Moulton and Mr Aldridge, a former BDO partner, were co-founders of Better Capital with Nick Sanders, the operations chief, when the group was set up in 2009.

Mr Pilling was drafted in by Mr Moulton in November last year, and handed responsibility for overseeing the running of the firm’s portfolio of companies at the start of May.

Better Capital runs a listed vehicle on the London Stock Exchange, which counts investors such as BlackRock and Baillie Gifford among its top shareholders.

Mr Moulton was forced to answer questions from MPs earlier this year after the courier company he backed, City Link, collapsed into administration at the cost of 2,000 jobs.

The appointment of Mr Pilling, an operations chief, to the top job signals a move by the group to focus on squeezing more performance out of its 10 portfolio companies rather than buying new businesses.

Mr Aldridge’s background was in deal-making rather than operations.

Better Capital’s listed vehicle recently reported that problems at Jaeger and City Link had sparked a 7.9 per cent slump in the net asset value of its second fund, for the year ending in June, equivalent to about £30m.

The group’s first fund did better, rising 11 per cent thanks to a good performance from Gardner, the aerospace supplier.

The company spent about £150m on three new investments in the 12 months ending in June 2015, representing nearly half of the money originally raised for the fund.

Shares in the thinly traded group have risen over the past year, from around the 88p mark last September to close at 103p yesterday.

The reshuffle at the top of Better Capital comes amid ongoing turmoil at Jaeger.

The business yesterday said that Colin Henry, its chief executive, had left the century-old clothing chain, following reports that he had differed with Better Capital on the brand’s strategy.

It did not name a replacement.

AlixPartners, the turnaround consultancy, has reportedly been appointed to the firm to help get it back on an even keel.

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