- Operating partner will help find technology, Internet deals.
- Buyout managers increasingly turning to industry experts.
Former EBay Inc. finance chief Bob Swan is joining General Atlantic to help the private equity firm build its companies, manage Internet and technology investments and find new deals.
Swan, 55, will be an operating partner in the Palo Alto office in California and a member of General Atlantic’s resources group, the firm said Tuesday. He left EBay, the online marketplace operator, in July after nine years as chief financial officer and remains on the San Jose, California-based company’s board.
Private equity firms are increasingly hiring industry experts both to differentiate themselves when buying companies and to work on improving the businesses, rather than relying on leverage and rising markets for investment returns. General Atlantic, which this year acquired stakes in companies including Uber Technologies Inc. and Airbnb Inc., has 12 executives in its resources group, including Gary Reiner, General Electric Co.’s former chief information officer, and Anish Batlaw, a former operating partner at buyout firm TPG Capital.
“The private equity firms that will be most successful today and tomorrow will be those with a robust company-building capability,” Bill Ford, General Atlantic’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. Firms can use those skills to “improve the growth, profitability and strategic position of their portfolio companies.”
Blackstone Group LP, the biggest buyout firm, counts former Unilever Chief Operating Officer Harish Manwani and former Boeing Co. executive Jim Albaugh among its senior advisers. At KKR & Co., advisers include Honeywell International Inc. CEO David Cote and former Caterpillar Inc. Chairman Jim Owens. Carlyle Group LP this year added former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. CEO Mike Duke to advise on consumer and retail deals.
General Atlantic, founded in 1980, oversaw $17.4 billion in assets as of June. The firm’s main offices are in Greenwich and New York.