Level 20 hunts for first CEO

Level 20, a campaign group set up to increase the number of women working in private equity, is on the hunt for its first chief executive after securing financial backing from a host of private equity firms including CVC Capital Partners and Charterhouse Capital Partners.

Ex-Adams Street Partners chief investment officer Hanneke Smits is among Level 20's founders

Ex-Adams Street Partners chief investment officer Hanneke Smits is among Level 20’s founders

The group, which was founded in September 2015 by a group of senior industry women, is seeking a CEO to broaden its mentoring and networking programme, according to a statement. Women are severely under-represented at all levels of private equity, making up just 5% of senior roles at European firms, according to figures from the group.

Level 20, which has grown to 600 members since its launch in 2015, wants women to make up 20% of senior roles by 2020. It aims to achieve this through mentoring, networking and philanthropy.

The group has received multi-year financial backing from more than 25 private equity firms including Advent International, Cinven, Terra Firma, KKR and Apax Partners. The funding, which was an undisclosed sum, will be used to support the hire of a CEO and to expand the group’s mentoring programme.

The group’s 12 founders include HarbourVest’s Kathleen Bacon, Cinven’s Alexandra Hess and former Adams Street Partners chief investment officer Hanneke Smits.

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