Thursday 18 January 2018

Former Diageo chairman Blyth joins board of Avoca

Lord James Blyth
Lord James Blyth

THE term "City grandee" tends to get overplayed. Not everyone who is appointed to a company board is a grandee, just as not everyone who works in a bank is a "banker".

One man who definitely is a grandee is Lord (James) Blyth, and he has joined the board of Dublin asset manager Avoca Capital. Blyth is best known as chief executive of Boots in the mid-90s, but also chaired Diageo for eight years.

He has become something of a serial director, but his move to the board of Avoca is an interesting one and has got tongues wagging about the future of the business.

Avoca has close to €6bn in capital under management and is unusual in that it has a dual CEO structure: Alan Burke is based in Dublin and James Hatchley works from London.

It is a private firm, but the Blyth appointment may be the first step in a move towards an IPO. It is standard practice for firms to hire big players to their boards ahead of a flotation. It gives less well-known firms an air of gravitas and in general asset managers are much more comfortable investing in firms with strong names at the top of the tree.

Irish Independent

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