Abraaj re-organises structure, appoints new leadership

KARACHI: Private equity fund Abraaj Group, Friday announced broad changes to the firm’s governance and operating model and the appointment of a new leadership team.

The founder of Abraaj, Arif Naqvi has passed the reins of the fund management entity to the co-chief executives in order to further grow the business. The executive leadership team at Abraaj Investment Management Limited (AIML) will be led by Omar Lodhi and Selcuk Yorgancioglu as co-chief executive officers. Naqvi will focus on managing Abraaj Holdings and will retain a non-executive role as a member of the Global Investment Committee of AIML.

The reorganisation comes weeks after Abraaj said it had hired global auditing firm KPMG to look into the finances of its healthcare fund after a reported dispute with some its investors in the fund.

Core to the re-organisation will be the separation of AIML and Abraaj Holdings (“AHI”), which will be independently managed. The fund management business will continue to oversee the operations of all of Abraaj’s funds globally on behalf of leading institutional investors and manage a portfolio of investee businesses across Asia, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and Latin America.

Omar Lodhi and Selcuk Yorgancioglu will assume their roles with immediate effect.  Lodhi and Yorgancioglu have each been with the group for over 10 years and were respectively partners for the group’s Asia and Turkey businesses.

In their new positions, they will be responsible for the overall strategy of the fund management business but will each have different areas of responsibility. They will work closely with the board of AIML to drive the necessary operational and governance changes to ensure that the firm continues to perform at the highest levels.

AIML has commissioned a comprehensive review of its corporate structure with areas of focus to include governance and control functions. Independent specialist consultants have been retained to carry out this review.  The intended impact of the review, which has the full support of the Abraaj board and management, is to pave the way for future and sustainable growth of the firm by driving enhanced operational effectiveness.

Going forward, AIML will have an independent board of directors to which internal audit and compliance will directly report.

Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, Wahid Hamid, and Sev Vettivetpillai will continue their full-time roles as members of the Global Investment Committee and as managing partners of AIML with oversight responsibility on the Executive Committee of AIML to ensure an orderly implementation of the new management structure and governance systems.

Given the breadth of structural and management changes and ongoing review, Abraaj has decided to pause its deployment activities temporarily, other than on transactions for which commitments are already final, until the re-organisation is complete.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Arif Naqvi said, “Since 2002, my colleagues and I have worked to build a leading alternative asset manager in growth markets. My journey started with a clear-eyed view of the role of private capital in creating economic and social change for the markets and communities that we serve.”

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