European private equity trade body elects Riverside partner as head

Karsten Langer, partner of private equity group Riverside Company, has become the European Venture Capital Association’s chairman, at a time of unprecedented scrutiny of the industry.

He succeeds outgoing chairwoman Uli Fricke, and will hold the position to June 2012.

Langer has placed at the top of his agenda explaining to the public and authorities how private equity can benefit their economies, and work as investments.

At the top of the agenda at the European Commission is regulating his industry more tightly. The EC is introducing the contentious Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive to regulate private equity, and hedge, funds.

The EVCA said its focus continues to be on “helping lawmakers understand its impact on the industry and the economy, and it will extend to wider communications efforts, explaining to a wider audience the contribution private investment makes to fuelling economic growth”.

Langer said: “The past 10 years have seen private equity grow and mature – and at times it’s been a bumpy ride. But now is the time to move forward and recognise private equity investment as a key to achieving growth and reigniting the flame of new and thriving businesses throughout Europe.”

With much of Europe’s banking system greatly hampered by their exposure to troubled peripheral debt, and capital reserve requirements under Basel III provisions, more companies denied bank lending are widely expected to seek finance elsewhere.

Langer said: “Many European economies need the regeneration that private investment offers.”

The EVCA this week launched a three-month consultation on a handbook on professional standards for venture capital and private equity practitioners, combining a code of conduct, the governing principles and corporate governance guidelines.

Langer has been a partner at Riverside since 2006, leading investment and portfolio management in Benelux and France. He also worked at GE Capital Europe, before joining Brussels-based corporate financier M&A International as managing partner.

Riverside has $3.4bn assets under management.

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