In the last decade, Africa has experienced an unprecedented influx of private equity (PE) investments. The Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA) estimates that PE investments in Africa rose from $151 million in 2002 to $1.5 billion in 2010. Although a significant proportion of these funds are managed by largely male-dominated private equity firms, a few African women control sizable chunks of private equity capital.
Described as one of “the continent’s most venerable female dealmakers (and) one of the most powerful women in African private equity”, Ms Genevieve Sangudi, currently manages $500 million in private equity capital. The Kenyan-born Tanzanian is Managing Director and Partner of The Carlyle Group, one of the largest global asset management companies in the world with $147 billion in assets under management.
Genevieve was born in Mombasa, Kenya but grew up in Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire and the United States. She went to the United States at age fourteen as a refugee from Liberia during the time of civil war. She later received a B.A. in English and communication studies from Macalester College in 1997 and then an MBA in Finance and Strategy from Columbia Business School and a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Ms Sangudi started her career in JP Morgan as a Senior Associate and then gained significant experience in the fast moving consumer goods sector, as the Marketing Manager for Procter & Gamble in Boston, Massachusetts where she worked on market strategies for several multi-billion dollar global brands.
In 2004, Genevieve Sangudi joined Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), a private equity group with over $1.8 billion in management; this was where she really made her mark in PE. In her role as Partner and Founding Director of the Nigerian arm of ECP, where the largest proportion of the firm’s capital was deployed, Sangudi was active in deal sourcing, execution and value creation for companies in the financial services, oil & gas and petrochemicals sector. Genevieve played a lead role in fundraising for two of ECP’s pan-African funds, Central Africa Growth Fund and ECP Africa Fund II PCC. She also led the company to make key investments in Nigerian blue-chip companies like fertiliser giant Notore Chemical Industries. Her status as a ‘veteran dealmaker’ made her the top choice for numerous directorship positions.
She served as the Director of Continental Reinsurance PLC in 2008 as well as Director of Blue Financial Services Limited from May 2008 to September 2009. Genevieve joined oil & gas giant, Oando PLC as the Director from January 2010 to November 2011 before being tapped into Carlyle Group in 2011. Sangudi is a part of the leadership team of Carlyle’s Sub-Saharan Africa Fund (CSSAF) that was launched in the same year. This made Carlyle the first global private equity firm to set up operations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her focus in this important role is on buyout and growth capital investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a particular emphasis on West African markets. She has resided in Lagos, Nigeria since 2008.
Her Carlyle Africa fund co-heads include Danie Jordan, a former member of the Johannesburg-based Ethos Private Equity, and Marlon Chigwende, former head of private equity in Africa, Standard Bank.
Genevieve’s tapping into the role of Managing Director and partner has been seen by analysts as a leap forward for Africa and for African women as global companies continue to gain confidence in African talent. A role model for young African women, Genevieve is truly a inspiration, blazing trails for aspiring career women across Africa.