Terra Firma CEO Steps Down After Bust-Up With Founder Guy Hands

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The chief executive of the buyout firm that is best known for its ill-fated ownership of the EMI record label, Terra Firma Capital Partners, has stepped down from his position after falling out with its billionaire founder.

According to a memo that is circulated to the investors of Terra Firma, Andrew Geczy, who joined the private equity group in 2016, stepped down last Thursday.

The firm’s founder and figurehead, ‎Guy Hands, informed its backers that “effective immediately, Andrew Geczy is no longer working at Terra Firma.”

The note said: “While I‎ cannot give you further details on his departure at this time, the senior leadership team and I are working to ensure that the day-to-day running of the firm continues without interruption and that we move forward with our business objectives.”

Sources disclosed that Hands and Geczy had been “at loggerheads” for some time, with disputes ranging across a spectrum of issues that related to the management of Terra Firma.

The details of any severance agreement between the two parties were not clear, and Geczy could not be reached for comments regarding the matter.

 

Hands is based on Guernsey. He is considered as one of the most colourful and prominent figures in British finance, having made his fortune developing leveraged buyouts at the Japanese bank Nomura.

He is known as ‎a maverick character with a knack for distinguishing investment opportunities that are overlooked by others in the buyout industry.

Hands, however, has seen his reputation affected by some soured deals and his failure to raise a new private equity fund even as others in the industry have found some attracting capital pools of many billions of pounds.

The sudden exit of the chief executive of Terra Firma is unlikely beneficial to Hands.

Geczy is a veteran of the financial services industry. His previous jobs include having served as chief executive of wholesale banking and markets at Lloyds Banking Group and 14 years at Citigroup.

More recently, he served as the chief executive of international and institutional banking at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.

Less than three years ago, Geczy was appointed to help restore the credibility of Terra Firma after a bruising period that resulted from the loss of its EMI investment and a series of subsequent legal battles that featuring Hands.

Under the leadership of Geczy, Terra Firma has generated strong returns from investments including through the €1.3 billion disposal of a solar energy platform called RTR.

It has also restructured the finances of Annington, a vast landlord to the Ministry of Defence, which is widely anticipated to be sold in the next couple of years.

The firm, however, has also been battling to salvage value from some parts of the portfolio of the biggest private nursing home operator in the United Kingdom, Four Seasons Health Care.

Currently, the business is largely under the control of its main creditor, and is close to launching a formal auction.

Other firms in the portfolio of Terra Firma include CPC, an Australian beef producer, and Welcome Hotels, a German hotel group.