Former Diageo chairman Blyth joins board of Avoca
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.