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BGF announces Board update

BGF News 05.02.2023
Tags BGF News

BGF announces that, after 12 years of service, first as Founder CEO and subsequently Chair, Stephen Welton has informed the Board of his intention to step back at the end of June 2023.

Stephen Welton commented: “It has been an enormous privilege to work with such a talented group of individuals over the last 12 years, an incredibly supportive group of shareholders, and an excellent Board. BGF was set up with a mission and a purpose, strong alignment, and a clear sense that the UK needed a significant boost in regional equity investment after the global financial crisis. I am incredibly proud of what we have subsequently achieved, the chance to work with so many amazing entrepreneurs, and to see the financial performance of the business go from strength to strength.”

BGF was founded to deliver a positive impact through patient capital investment in a diversified portfolio of growth companies nationwide. BGF has created a unique and successful platform delivering, on average, more than one investment a week of between £1m-£20m, in addition to significant follow-on funding.

Stephen continues: “This is the right moment for me to step back, with the business having delivered on our original business plan, realised over £1bn in exits over the last two years, paid our maiden dividend, and with Andy Gregory now fully installed as CEO. This timing allows for a new Chairman to be in place to oversee the appointments process for new non-executives, expected in the coming months.”

“There has never been a greater necessity to drive long term investment by connecting growing companies, which are the lifeblood of the economy, with the capital they need to grow. In 2011, the UK banks made a meaningful commitment. I hope we will now see a similar commitment from major institutional investors as we look to make the significant investment the UK needs to deliver a sustainable path to reach Net Zero by 2050. I look forward to playing a part in helping to make that happen.”

Neil Johnson, Deputy Chair, said: “Given the success of the transition and the ongoing evolution of leadership and governance at BGF over the next few years, Stephen has decided that the timing is now right for chair succession. On behalf of the Board and our Shareholder Banks, I would like to thank Stephen for his committed service to BGF over the past 12 years. He has led the firm, from its inception, to become one of the largest and most active investors in the UK and Ireland, achieving its mission of realising untapped potential in the growth economy. The search for Stephen’s successor is now underway with external advisers already fully engaged.”

“Under Stephen’s leadership, BGF has grown from startup to invest over £3.5bn in more than 500 companies, and is now a self-funding investment firm, deploying around £500m a year. It has become a significant presence in the UK and Irish equity investment landscapes. Since 2014, it has exited 147 investments, delivering £1.7bn in total realised returns and a gross IRR of over 20%, well ahead of original expectations.”

“As well as remaining a steadfast supporter of BGF, I am delighted that Stephen will continue to Chair the BGF Foundation, which is an independent charity backed with cornerstone funding of £1.5m from BGF and with aspirations to crowd in other donors. The Foundation, like BGF itself, is looking to break the mould, adopting an innovative approach to philanthropy. The BGF Foundation provides support and financing to small and mid-sized charities across the UK that are focussed on improving the lives of disadvantaged children, young people and adults.”

It has been my pleasure to work with Stephen since I joined BGF in 2011. The entire team at BGF wish him well for the future and thank him for his many years of commitment, vision and leadership.

Andy Gregory, CEO, BGF