Leahy, 55, will be based at Clayton Dubilier’s London office, the firm said in a statement yesterday. He left Tesco, the U.K.’s biggest retailer, in March after a 32-year career at the Cheshunt, England-based company.
Private-equity firms routinely use former executives of large companies to provide advice to companies they own by sitting on boards or consulting with executives on operational matters. New York-based Clayton Dubilier counts former General Electric Co. CEO Jack Welch among its advisers. Stuart Rose, the former CEO of U.K. clothing retailer Marks & Spencer Group Plc, became an adviser to Bridgepoint Capital Ltd. last year.
Tesco more than quadrupled sales and profit during the 14 years that Leahy ran the company. Under his leadership, the supermarket company entered Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and the U.S., increasing the proportion of sales from outside the U.K. to about a third from 6 percent when he took control. Leahy was succeeded as Tesco CEO by Phil Clarke, who had headed the company’s operations in Asia and Europe.
Private-equity firms are hiring executives from industry as they seek to invest some of the $470 billion of capital they raised before the credit crisis. They have led $147 billion of takeovers this year, up from $79 billion in the same period a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Clayton Dubilier’s investments include U.S. Foodservice, the second-largest U.S. food-service distributor, which it bought with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. from Royal Ahold NV in 2007.
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