Pantheon hires Latin America head

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(Private Equity) February 6, 2012 — Private equity investor Pantheon has appointed Jaime Londoño from Wilshire Associates to lead a push into Latin America, in a further sign of the region’s growing importance.

Pantheon has appointed Jaime Londoño as a principal and head of Latin American investments.

Londoño, a Colombian national who went on to study for a masters in financial engineering in the US, will initially operate from the group’s San Francisco office, but will then move to Colombia to establish an office in Bogotá in the second half of this year, the firm said.

Pantheon plans to establish a team of three to four investment professionals in the new office initially, Londoño told Private Equity International in an interview with last week. It will then grow the team in tandem with its exposure to the region, he said.

“We see tremendous opportunities in the region, with local economies growing GDP by 5, 6, even 7 percent year on year,” Londoño said. “That is driven by a rapidly-growing middle class which is itself driving domestic consumption. There’s also a significant amount of capital flowing into the region.”

He also indicated the private equity industry in Latin America was maturing fast. “There’s a good mix of experienced managers who are investing their third, fourth or even fifth funds in some cases, who know the region well and have been through different economic cycles,” he said.

Londoño joins from Wilshire Associates, where he was a vice president working on primary, secondary and co-investments in the US and Latin America. He has ten years of experience within leveraged buyouts, venture capital, special situations, distressed investments and growth capital, having joined Wilshire in 2002.

Chris Meads, head of investment at Pantheon, said: “We welcome Jaime to Pantheon at a time of attractive opportunities across Latin America. With his extensive investment experience, he will be a great resource to help us tap into those opportunities for our clients.”

Other firms have been busy bolstering their Latin American teams. General Atlantic, for example, appointed Martin Escobari earlier this month from Advent International to lead its operations in the region from an office in São Paulo, Brazil. Advent itself opened an office in Bogotá in October last year, with Managing director Diego Serebrisky moving from the firm’s Mexico City office to spearhead the new operation.

There have been a number of changes at Pantheon too in recent months. Pantheon veteran and senior partner Carol Kennedy retired from the firm in December, as reported exclusively by PEI last week. In November, it appointed Heiko Schupp from infrastructure fund manager EISER to be its head of European infrastructure investments.