Phil Kearns eyes off more private equity

Phil Kearns
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(Pictured: Phil Kearns)

Phil Kearns had such a good experience with CHAMP Private Equity and Centric Wealth that he does not rule out another role in private equity in the near future.

“Private equity is something that was fun and interesting… you also get to pick the brains of some great minds,” he said.

“Certainly the experience I had with CHAMP was a really really good one.”

“I’d quite like that,” he said when asked about staying in private equity.

Kearns, who will depart Centric Wealth at the end of June, was brought on by CHAMP Private Equity in 2011 (CHAMP took a majority stake in the business in 2009) to manage the turn around of the company.

When KKR Asset Management-backed Findex bought the CHAMP stake in February 2014 for $130 million, the integration meant the company effectively ended up with two chief executive officers – Findex CEO Spiro Paule and Kearns.

“A company can’t have two chief executive officers, it’s just as simple as that,” Kearns said.

He assured Investor Strategy News that his recently announced departure from Centric Wealth was amicable.

“I initiated it. I wasn’t asked to leave or anything like that. There is no animosity.”

But before he joins his next venture, he is looking to kick up his heals and spend plenty of time surfing.

“I just want to take the time over the next couple of months to work out what I do next,” he said.

“It would probably make sense for it to be in financial services, because that’s where I’ve been for the past decade.”

Kearns says that one of his latest hires, and another former All Black, Andrew Merhtens, would continue in his current role as head of institutional sales.

“There is still a role for Andrew,” Kearns said.

Kearns said he enjoyed the experience under CHAMP but had not had enough time to get to know the KKR team who joint purchased the business with Findex in January.

He has received no formal offers as yet. 

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