EQT's CEO Von Koch Plans to Step Down Ahead of a Potential IPO

(Bloomberg) -- EQT Partners Chief Executive Officer Thomas von Koch will step down as the private equity firm considers options including an initial public offering to strengthen its balance sheet and move toward its next phase of development.

Christian Sinding, the 46-year-old deputy managing partner and head of equity who’s been with the firm since 1998, will take over the role on Jan. 1 from Zurich, the company said in a statement on Monday. Von Koch, 52, will stay on as deputy managing partner and chairman of EQT ventures, mid-market Asia and the public value businesses.

EQT, the Nordic region’s biggest private equity firm, is considering an IPO and may also look for a new external investor, a person familiar with the matter said in September. The listing would be among the first big share sales for a European buyout firm and, if successful, could pave the way for more companies in the region to follow their U.S. counterparts such as Blackstone Group LP and KKR & Co. onto the public markets.

Von Koch joined the firm in 1994 as part of the original team and had previously worked at Investor AB, EQT’s anchor investor. During the approximately five years that he’s been CEO, EQT has doubled in size in terms of staff and capital raised. EQT has raised about 50 billion euros ($59 billion) and 27 funds since it was founded.

A number of older founders and CEOs at EQT’s U.S. counterparts have addressed succession concerns recently as the top ranks of management age into their 60s and 70s. Carlyle Group LP’s billionaire founders David Rubenstein and Bill Conway ceded their roles as co-CEOs in January. KKR in 2017 promoted Scott Nuttall and Joe Bae to newly formed roles of co-presidents and co-chief operating officers, responsible for the day-to-day operations of the firm.

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