HarbourVest’s Anson to step down as MD

The private equity veteran will transition to a senior advisor role and will step away from HarbourVest's daily activities.

HarbourVest Partners‘ George Anson, an almost three-decade veteran of the global investment firm and private equity stalwart, is stepping back from his executive role, sister publication Private Equity International has learned.

George Anson
George Anson

Anson, 56, will transition from his role as managing director to senior advisor on 1 July, a spokesman for the Boston-headquartered investment firm confirmed.

“George has been instrumental in helping us develop and grow our European business, beginning with the establishment of HarbourVest’s first overseas office in London when he joined the firm in 1990,” Peter Wilson, managing director and member of the firm’s executive management committee said in an emailed statement.

“Along the way, he has been consistently regarded by his peers as an industry leader and visionary, and has made an indelible impact on not only HarbourVest, but also the entire European private equity and venture capital landscape.”

Anson will step away from HarbourVest’s daily activities and may work with the firm on special projects or initiatives, Wilson said.

Born in Canada and a long-term London resident, Anson is one of Europe’s best-known private equity fund investment managers. He joined HarbourVest in 1990 and has served on various advisory committees of European venture capital and buyout funds including BC Partners, IK Investment Partners and Cinven.

A member of Invest Europe’s LP Platform Council, having served as its chairman between 2013 and 2014, Anson was an inaugural member of the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association’s BVCA LP Committee. He also spent five years as director of HarbourVest Global Private Equity Limited (HVPE), HarbourVest’s London-listed fund of funds.

Prior to HarbourVest, Anson spent seven years with Pantheon Ventures managing European private equity funds and firms.
A decade ago, speaking at PEI’s 2007 European Investor Relations Forum in London, Anson had said the private equity industry needed to do a better job of explaining itself to its investors and to the public at large.

“The private equity industry needs to be much more mindful of the impact their decisions will make to the broader community, and the political capital they will lose if they ignore this constituency,” he said.

In 2003 Anson was named in PEI’s 30 Most Influential LPs in Europe. A leading advisory firm source commented at the time: “George has lots of money dedicated to Europe. He’s been around a long time, but couple that with the fact that [HarbourVest] have a lot of capital to put to work, and that makes him pretty influential.”

HarbourVest’s executive management committee comprises Wilson and John Toomey, a managing director based in the firm’s Boston headquarters. Its investment committee is made up of Kathleen Bacon, Gregory Stento, Robert Wadsworth as well as Toomey.