Pitch Best Young Private Equity Manager 2022: Sjoerd Smaal, KKR & Co.

Sjoerd Smaal maakt dit jaar kans op de M&A Award voor Best Young Private Equity Manager 2022.

Company: KKR 
Job Description: Associate Private Equity 
Age: 26

What are the specialties of this talent? 
KKR is a leading private equity investor in the Netherlands, further established over the last year with high profile investments in Roompot and Accell, adding to a total track-record of over €24bn invested in more than 10 investments in the last 5 years. 

Sjoerd, who is a key member of KKR’s Benelux coverage as an Associate in the KKR EMEA private equity team, has been a very important contributor to KKR’s Benelux investment efforts under the supervision of Daan Knottenbelt, Partner and Head of Benelux for KKR.  

Sjoerd started his career at JPMorgan at 21 years old as an analyst on the advisory team focusing on Telecom, Media & Technology (TMT), he then joined TPG Sixth Street Partners as an Investment Associate, before joining KKR’s private equity team in 2020 as an associate, where he quickly built recognition for being a highly talented team member. 

Sjoerd’s unique ability to combine sector know-how and financial expertise with a solid understanding of how companies operate, is critical in helping firms transform from local champions to European and global champions.  

In this perspective, Sjoerd has made significant contributions to the investment in and growth strategy behind Accell Group, the European market leader in e-bikes and Roompot, an owner and operator of holiday parks. 

How does the talent distinguish itself from its peers? 
Sjoerd’s sound investment judgment, and his ability to build strong connections with the leadership of companies make him, at his young age, highly respected and appreciated by all who work with him, both internally on the investment teams and externally with leading company executives.  

What impact does the talent have within the organization?  
Sjoerd  has been a very important contributor to the investment efforts of KKR in the Benelux region, making significant contributions to the firm’s investments in Accell Group and Roompot during the life cycle of the investment, from deal sourcing to due diligence and transaction process, through to completion. He further supports these companies as a member of the portfolio company team at KKR and through his Board-level participation; Sjoerd sits on the Board of Roompot and is a Board Observer at Accell Group. 

Sjoerd is also a real carrier of collaborative team culture, always galvanizing the energy in the team and feeling deeply accountable for team output. Sjoerd is a highly valued colleague inside KKR EMEA for the can do attitude that he brings. 

What impact does the talent have outside the organization?  
To best represent the impact Sjoerd has externally, please find below observations by 2 relevant external contacts with whom Sjoerd works closely. 

“Sjoerd is one of the brightest young PE managers I know.  He is very commercial and a strong relationship builder. We have worked together a lot over the years, and his development curve has been very steep. He is already a true sparring partner at board level, which is remarkable given his seniority… and is recognised in the market as such.” Jan-Hendrik Horsmeier, Partner, Clifford Chance – Amsterdam 

“I have been working with Sjoerd for more than 2 years and got to know him as a hard worker who loves excel but is also very accessible to our management and takes their wishes into account. We are already 17 months into a major acquisition and, as a result, I have almost daily contact with Sjoerd and he is always very professional. He is still young but will certainly have a great career if he continues along the current line … and this does make him somewhat positively different.”  Jurgen Van Cutsem, CEO, Roompot – Goes 

To what extent does the talent make the difference to clients?  
As a core member of the Benelux investment team, Sjoerd is seen by KKR’s investors as a trusted investment team member, who plays an important role in deploying capital in a key region for KKR. 

Why does the talent deserve this nomination? 
Sjoerd embodies the type of young talent Private Equity firms are proud to attract and who will help to shape the future of the sector. Sjoerd combines a sharp intellect with strong social skills and a robust personal value set, all essential qualities in the investment universe of tomorrow. 

Any references or recommendations from clients or (colleagues)? 

o             Mattia Caprioli (Co-Head of EMEA Private Equity at KKR)

o             Daan Knottenbelt (Partner, Head of FIG EMEA
               and Head of Benelux at KKR)

o             Tim Franks (Partner, Head of EMEA Consumer at KKR)

o             Jurgen van Cutsem (CEO Roompot)

o             Coen van der Wel (CFO Roompot)

o             Jan-Hendrik Horsmeier (Partner, Clifford Chance)



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