Pitch Best Young PE Manager: Lynn Staes – Capital A

De genomineerden maken dit jaar kans op de M&A Award voor Best Young PE Manager 2023.

Name: Lynn Staes
Company: Capital A
Job Description: Investment Professional (Analyst)
Age: 27

What are the specialities of this talent?
Lynn started at Capital A as an intern in the summer of ’20 after graduating from Groningen University and Erasmus University (MSc Behavioral Finance). She accepted an analyst position at the beginning of ’21, and we never regretted it. Since her appointment, she has been involved in the investment in 7 platform companies and 4 add-ons, active in the Financial Institution, Recruitment, and IT sectors. These are environments where the scarcity of human resources (war of talent) is detrimental to the success of our investment. In addition to having a safe pair of hands for fundamental PE analysis, including valuation & LBO modeling, DD coordination, bank negotiation & structuring, SPA & SHA drafting/negotiation, Lynn has developed a specialization in developing equity participation plans. She has helped all her 7 companies broaden the management participation (founder, CEO, CFO, COO) alongside Capital A. In 2 cases, the equity participation plan also included key employees. In one company, we have 78 senior software developers participating alongside us, and in the other company, 12 second-layer managers, of which half are Belgian following a successful add-on, respectively. This work has also enabled her to operate very independently, building very close relationships with management teams, which consist of successful senior executives. I expect our management teams to fully support Lynn’s nomination.

How does the talent distinguish itself from its peers?
Lynn is a true team player and a source of inspiration to her peers. She consistently mentors and empowers the next generation of private equity professionals, sharing her knowledge and insights generously. Her work style, marked by dedication, inclusivity, and collaboration, has led to remarkable achievements, setting her apart as a true standout in the field.

What impact does the talent have within the organization?
At Capital A, our job is to find good (capital-light) businesses that have untapped opportunities, partner with the entrepreneurs and the entirety of the workforce to drive value. The ability to attract and retain talent is one of the biggest challenges of our portfolio companies, given competition and demographic trends. We see equity participation as an important part of the solution, and Lynn’s work now serves as best practice within our firm. She is also involved in the student recruitment activities of Capital A. She is a great team player, always open to organizing team events and sharing knowledge. Lynn is a great example for junior colleagues.

What impact does the talent have outside the organization?
Lynn’s work on equity participation has helped us create win-win deals with our portfolio companies but also has important ESG implications. Broader equity ownership is part of the social contract. With ownership comes not only a financial stake and economic alignment, but employees also receive more information about the business. They understand the business plan better, including where the business is heading and how they can contribute. Small things can move the needle. This solidifies a culture of inclusion, benefiting us and our investors, as value is being created with the entire workforce. This engagement has a great impact on the retention and churn rate of clients and employees. An engaged staff always improves the quality of the product and makes clients happy. Lynn works closely and tirelessly with our CEOs and CFOs to ensure the participation plan is broadly understood, creating maximum awareness within the company.

To what extent does the talent make a difference to clients?
In PE, we don’t work for “clients.” Please see the answer to the previous question for the difference Lynn makes to our portfolio companies and investors.

Why does the talent deserve this nomination?
Lynn is already a great ambassador for Capital A both towards our partner companies and the student community. We believe she can also be a fantastic ambassador for the PE industry. Lynn’s unwavering commitment to excellence is truly distinctive. Her work is a great illustration of the positive aspects of private equity, such as employee engagement, value creation, sustainable economic growth, and ESG.

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