BGF has promoted chief investment officer Andy Gregory to the role of CEO.

Stephen Welton, who has led the investor as executive chairman for a decade, will move into a non-executive chair position on 1st January 2023.

Gregory will begin his new role on 1st September.

BGF said the moves are the culmination of a process designed and delivered by an independent leadership advisory panel working with its board and shareholders over the last three years. 

Under Welton’s leadership, BGF has grown from a startup to become the most active growth capital investor in the UK & Ireland, with more than £3 billion invested across over 400 companies by a regional network of 16 offices. 

He has also served as a member of HM Treasury’s Patient Capital Review, the Council of Innovate UK and the Prime Minister’s business advisory council. 

Prior to BGF, he was one of the founding partners of the global private equity firm CCMP Capital (formerly JP Morgan Partners) and managing director of Barclays Private Equity and Henderson Ventures, which he also co-founded.

Gregory, who like Welton joined the business in 2011, has held his current role since May 2021 and before that was head of investments, UK & Ireland, since January 2020. During this time, BGF has experienced a record period of investment and exit activity. 

Before joining BGF as regional director for the North of England, he held senior roles in the private equity industry including at LivingBridge and Bridgepoint.

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“From a standing start in 2011 and spurred on by the global financial crisis, BGF’s leadership, shareholders, regulators and other stakeholders envisaged a new equity investment platform that would deliver long-term value creation and patient capital, supporting entrepreneurs on a local basis right across the country,” said Welton.

“I could not be prouder of what has been achieved and would like to thank our portfolio companies, our team and our shareholders for their enduring support in delivering what is a core mission for BGF and a crucial part of the growth economy.

“Andy has delivered strong investment performance as CIO, knows the market incredibly well, and will continue to drive forward the BGF model and mission.”

BGF has also just declared its maiden dividend of £30m to shareholders HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest and Standard Chartered. In line with original objectives to create a self-sustaining investment platform over the long term, BGF has not drawn on committed shareholder capital since June 2021, with cash realisations now funding investment activity which will allow excess returns to be returned to shareholders going forward.

Last year, BGF delivered a total cash return of £571m from exits – up from £233m in 2020 – equivalent to an average 2x money multiple and a 23.4% gross internal rate of return. 

Returns from 22 exits in the first half of 2022 continued this strong trend with £391m realised and a gross IRR of 23%. Pre-tax profit in 2021 was £404m.

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Gregory said: “BGF holds a unique position in the investment industry, which it has established thanks to the hard work of a highly skilled team, Stephen’s unwavering leadership and the support of our shareholders.

“I am delighted to be taking on the role of CEO, with Stephen’s support as Non-Executive Chair. We will continue to drive forward our investment activity and deliver exits that create long-term value for the entrepreneurs we back, as well as for our shareholders. 

“Against the backdrop of several major macro events impacting the UK & Irish economies, there has never been a more important time to back our entrepreneurial wealth creators. This is something BGF will continue to do over the next decade and beyond.”

New appointments have also been made to BGF’s executive committee, effective from 1st January 2023. These include Richard Taylor, head of growth; Ben Barker, head of portfolio; and Cate Poulson, head of talent network.