TDA 2022: COO of the Year: Steven Whitaker, Equistone
Judges were won over by Whitaker’s real evidence of operational improvements that have been designed to integrate with and enhance the overall capabilities of the firm as a whole.
Indeed, during the judging period, Whitaker led the team that implemented a new portfolio monitoring tool, iLevel, to support the management of Equistone's large European portfolio of c.50 companies. To manage the operational impact of Covid, he worked with colleagues on Equistone's response to the UK lockdowns and government guidelines, ensuring that the firm's IT and Cybersecurity supported everyone working remotely. In the early days of the crisis the group's finance team intensified its portfolio monitoring and cashflow management. Additionally, Whitaker chaired Equistone's Valuation Committee, which provided guidance to the deal teams across Europe on the impact of Covid on individual company valuations.
Whitaker created a new role of legal counsel and hired a qualified lawyer from the funds team at Kirkland & Ellis in October 2021. During last year he worked with the head of investor relations on better integrating the legal and finance teams into Equistone's fundraising and on-going investor support. Collaborating with external counsel, Whitaker helped Equistone shape future generations of funds by devising an appropriate post-Brexit structure for future flagship funds and in the Autumn of 2021 assisted with the launch of the inaugural Equistone Reinvestment Fund.
Whitaker is a founder member of Equistone's UK Charity Committee and helped to devise (and took part in) The 7-City Challenge in May 2021, which saw Equistone's employees walking, running, cycling and rowing the 1,677 miles between all Equistone's European offices to raise money for Thrombosis UK.
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