BVCA seeks chief executive

Simon Walker plans to leave the UK trade association next year.

The British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association is searching for a replacement for Simon Walker, the chief executive who has helmed the trade association since November 2007.

“Simon has indicated he will be leaving in 2011,” a spokesman confirmed, “but as yet no date has been set. A search for his replacement has been started but with no particular urgency.”

The search is being conducted by headhunting firm Odgers Berndtson, whose board- and CEO-focused recruitment practice is led by former UK minister Virginia Bottomley. Bottomley did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Simon Walker

As CEO of the BVCA, Walker has consistently worked to dispel criticism of the industry and encouraged members to better educate the public about how private equity firms operate and serve as engines for economic growth.  He has also lobbied against regulatory and tax changes that would impact the industry, such as the proposed rise in capital gains tax.

Walker also oversaw the creation of buyout and mid-market private equity committees within the BVCA to better represent private equity members operating in different market segments.

Prior to joining the BVCA, the South African-born Walker spent four years working for Reuters in corporate communications and marketing. He was also a special advisor in the prime minister’s policy unit between 1996 and 1997 and worked for public relations firms Brunswick and Hill & Knowlton.

The European Private Equity & Venture Capital Association is also searching for a new leader. Its secretary general, Javier Echarri, has said he plans to leave by year’s end.