Gryphon, others lose talent execs as role becomes more highly prized

The executives often responsible for employee retention at PE firms have themselves been leaving in notable numbers these past few months.

Blue Wolf Capital Partners, GI Partners, Gryphon Investors, Madison Dearborn Partners and Palladium Equity Partners have all recently lost senior or mid-level talent and human resources professionals.

The wave of departures casts a spotlight on a position that has been growing in importance as PE firms navigate an exceptionally tight labor market, calls from investors to hire more women and minorities, and requests by employees for a better work-life balance.

Kenna Baudin, partner and global co-head of private equity at executive recruiter Egon Zehnder, believes the departures stem in part from an “increasing amount of focus on talent at both the fund and portfolio level.”

More on the departures, starting with the most recent:

  • Jennifer Williams has stepped down as a managing director of human resources at Gryphon Investors, where her role including working with portfolio companies. According to the firm’s Web site, Partner and Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Haas manages talent acquisition and internal human capital activities.
  • Crissy Wu has stepped down as a vice president of human resources at Palladium Equity Partners, according to an automated email response stating she is no longer with the firm as of April 7. Executive Vice President of HR and Administration Susan S. Lyons leads talent acquisition and retention at the firm alongside HR Associate Claire Condron.
  • Laura Cappiello stepped down as managing director and chief human resources officer at Madison Dearborn in March to join New York City-based money manager Pretium as a senior managing director and chief human resources officer. The role has been filled by Vanessa Ward, who previously served as manager of professional development and global talent at McKinsey & Company.
  • Alice Mann stepped down as operating partner of human capital at Blue Wolf Capital Partners in January to join Sentinel Capital Partners as partner, human capital. Ilona Bressler joined the firm in June 2021 as vice president of talent acquisition and HR services.
  • Sachi Blue-Smith stepped down as chief human resources officer at GI Partners at the end of 2021 to join Galvanize Climate Solutions as chief people officer. Tina Linger joined the firm as a vice president of human resources just weeks before Blue-Smith’s departure, and according to her LinkedIn profile has taken over as head of human resources.

We were unable to get in contact with executives at firms mentioned in the story by press time.

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