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Pandemic spurs demand for executive mentoring as financiers buy Merryck

Written by on 28/07/2021

A group of prominent City financiers are seeking to capitalise on soaring demand for executive mentoring services fuelled by the pandemic with the acquisition of one of the leading practices in the sector.

Sky News understands that MW&< Capital Partners, a private investment vehicle established in 2018, will announce this week that it has bought Merryck & Co, a provider of coaching and leadership advice.

The deal – the value of which will not be disclosed – reflects growing investor interest in a long-standing but relatively inconspicuous area of the professional services market.

Demand for executive mentoring services had already seen an uptick before the pandemic amid pressure on boards to groom more diverse executive teams and boards.

However, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated that trend because of the disruption it has caused to corporate operations, supply chains and operating models.

Merryck & Co was founded 20 years ago, and says its collection of mentors hold more than 425 board positions in total, with experience operating in more than 90 countries.

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, a Merryck mentor and serial director whose roles include being president of techUK, the trade association, said that COVID-19 was posing an unprecedented challenge to corporate leaders.

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“As we emerge from the pandemic and learn to live and lead in a climate of uncertainty and ambiguity, we face into the task of reenergising burnt-out leaders,” she said.

“Enabling them to cope with their own mental well-being and that of their teams is critical to their ability to navigate this new future.”

She added that post-pandemic life would signal a “return to normal”.

“We enter a period where work is reimagined, and leadership styles and priorities will continue to be challenged and must evolve,” Ms de Rojas said.

“Leaders are likely to need more support than ever before to navigate these challenges, which is why our ability to scale our capability matters.”

The Merryck acquisition is the second in the mentoring arena for MW&<.

It also owns CMi, a provider of mentoring by chairs and other senior leaders.

CMi counts Paula Rosput Reynolds, the National Grid chair, the Rightmove chairman Andrew Fisher and Tony Hayward, the former BP chief executive, among its roster of mentors.

MW&<‘s founders included Julian Metherell and Matthew Westerman, both of whom had long careers as partners at Goldman.

Its third founder, Peter Livanos, is the chairman of the international group Ceres Shipping and a member of one of Europe’s oldest shipping dynasties.

MW&< has invested in businesses across a range of sectors, including energy and renewables, shipping, financial services, consumer and retail.

The firm has positioned itself as a provider of flexible, long-term capital to growth companies, both in debt and equity, and as a majority or minority investor.

This year, it has been involved in the public-to-private takeover of GasLog, which was founded by Mr Livanos, and advised on and financed the expansion of Well-Safe Solutions, a well-decommissioning company.

It was also joined as an investor in Natural Capital Research, a research organisation which works with land-owners and companies, by Schroders and Oxford Sciences Innovation.

 Sky News

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