Volker Hichert Partner and Founder of DPE
Volker Hichert – managing partner of DPE – was a partner at Granville-Baird, one of the leading small-cap investors in the German market for many years, before co-founding DPE. For six years at Granville, he was responsible for investments in mechanical engineering, in the metal industry, in the consumer goods industry as well as in production and industrial services. Prior to this position, Volker Hichert held leading management positions in German SMEs for almost 9 years – as a managing partner of Yxlon International, on the Executive Board of the Hako Group as well as a member of the Executive Board at the railway carriage manufacturer Talbot. Volker launched his career at The Boston Consulting Group in Düsseldorf and Deutsche Bank AG in Hamburg. Volker Hichert earned his degree in business studies fromthe University of Münster. As Volker Hichert comments: “From entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. That was our principle right from the start at DPE. As an entrepreneur, it was always clear to me that real added value is created by growth – organic or through acquisitions – and not through debt. The secret is to turn managers into entrepreneurs, and to give them scope and time to allow their entrepreneurial energy to evolve. So that their visions can become reality. And it’s a wonderful feeling today to observe that the companies who work according to these principles in our family are extremely successful. We, our entire corporate family, their employees and our investors are passionate about medium-sized businesses.
Dr. Frank Müller Partner
Before joining DPE, Dr. Frank Müller provided support for numerous SME transactions in Europe as Principal at H.I.G. Capital. These mainly included classical buy-out and debt transactions focusing on the strategic realignment of companies, as well as group carve-outs requiring medium-sized structures. He previously gained experience in the field of Special Situations Investments, in particular in the automotive, chemicals, trade and packaging sectors. His first position was with KPMG. Dr. Frank Müller studied business management in Mannheim and obtained his doctorate at the University of Witten-Herdecke.
Guido Prehn Partner
Before joining DPE, Guido Prehn had already been active in the investment business for many years, most recently at Allianz Capital Partners, the private equity arm of the Allianz Group in Munich, where he was mainly responsible for investments in the healthcare sector. Previously, Guido Prehn was active at TPG Capital, a globally operating investment fund in London, and worked on numerous transactions in Germany and Europe. The business studies graduate started his professional career in investment banking at Merrill Lynch in Frankfurt and London. He studied business management at the European Business School, Oestrich-Winkel, as well as at the Universidad de la Empresa, Buenos Aires, and the DePaul University, Chicago.
Marc Thiery Partner and Founder of DPE
Marc Thiery is a managing partner and co-founder of DPE. He was previously a partner at Englefield Capital, London, a buy-out fund focused on European SMEs with an equity capital volume of around €2 billion. At Englefield Capital, Marc Thiery was responsible for investments in European companies in the area of healthcare and for investments in Germany. Prior to this, he was responsible for European investment activities at Allianz Private Equity Partners in Munich. At Morgan Stanley Capital Partners, who manage a private equity fund vested with US$ 3.3 billion, he was a member of the Global Investment Committee. Marc started his private equity career at Apax and his professional career in the area of investment banking at Morgan Stanley. Marc Thiery obtained a Bachelor of Science (BA) degree at the European Business School (Oestrich-Winkel) and an MBA at the Harvard Business School. Marc Thiery was always fascinated by entrepreneurship – he comes from a family of entrepreneurs. His grandfather established a longstanding company. Marc Thiery: “Appreciation of all employees and commitment in our small community were a matter of course. The many years during which I worked in the family business left their stamp on me and have become the standard for the management of our investments. Combined with my long-term experience in the private equity business, it has become clear to me that there is a genuine niche in the market. What would happen if it was not just financial experts who provided capital for a short period of time? If an entrepreneur had long-term financing, scope for development, strategic support and an international network? We incorporated all of these ideas when we founded DPE. Our concept convinced both entrepreneurs and investors. And our results are extremely satisfactory, for our entrepreneurs, for their employees and for our investors.”
Nils Bennemann Director
Before joining DPE, Nils Bennemann had already been involved in the private equity area for more than a decade, most recently as Partner at Greencoat Capital, and prior to this position at Candover Partners and Apax Partners. He has sourced and executed a variety of transactions, from large cap leveraged buy-outs to growth capital financings in SMEs, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of several portfolio companies. Nils Bennemann started his career in M&A at Lehman Brothers and leveraged finance at CIBC Capital Markets. He holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a 1st Class Honours Bachelor degree from the London School of Economics.
Daniel Herter has been active at DPE since July 2014. Prior to this, he worked as an investment banker at Nomura and GP Bullhound in London, Zürich and Berlin in the Corporate Finance area. Here, he accompanied and managed a series of transactions in the pharmaceutical, medical engineering, industrial, e-commerce and software/SaaS sectors. Moreover, Daniel Herter also gained experience in management consulting. He holds a bachelor degree in business management from the Munich Business School and a masters in Banking and International Finance from the Cass Business School in London.
Natascha Hostlowsky Chief Executive Assistant & Office Manager
Natascha Hostlowsky is assistant to the Executive Board and responsible for all office management issues. Ms. Hostlowsky draws on more than 20 years of experience in office management and as an Executive Board assistant. Natascha Hostlowsky previously worked as assistant to the Executive Board at CONDÉ NAST Publications, WOLFORD, ROECKL and HANRO. She obtained a diploma in commercial studies and is a certified Private Equity Analyst (CPEA) of the Technical University of Munich.
Florian Kaiser is an expert in company valuation with extensive experience in transaction consulting. Before joining DPE, he worked as a manager for KPMG AG in Munich in the Deal Advisory department. Florian Kaiser has advised domestic and international companies in a wide range of valuation-related topics including cross-border mergers, squeeze-outs, expert valuation opinions and purchase price allocations. He graduated in business administration from the Bayreuth University and the National University of Singapore and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).
Christian Kasten Portfolio Director
Before Christian Kasten moved to DPE as a director, he managed a technology start up and worked in management consulting for six years. At Compact Power Motors, a developer and manufacturer of efficient electric drives for the automotive industry, he was responsible as CFO for Finance and Production until the company was sold to a strategic investor. During his time at Porsche Consulting, he advised businesses mainly from the service and automotive supply sectors in the implementation of operational excellence and lean management. Christian Kasten started his professional career at Daimler in the area of sales network development in the corporate headquarters in Stuttgart, as well as in Barcelona and Madrid. He studied business management at the ISGM/ Zeppelin University and holds an MBA from the Bocconi University in Milan.
Dr. Rudolf Kinsky Senior Partner Austria
Dr. Rudolf Kinsky is a Senior Advisor at DPE and is responsible for the development of the Austrian market. Over the last 35 years, he has built up an international career in the areas of private equity, investment banking and management consulting in the USA, the UK, Germany, Austria and the CEE countries. His career milestones include 3i Group, Charterhouse, Dresdner Bank, McKinsey & Co. and The First Boston Corporation. Since 2006, Dr. Rudolf Kinsky has been active in Austria as a freelance management consultant. He is an Executive Board member of AVCO, the Austrian venture capital and private equity organization. A resident of Vienna, Dr. Kinsky holds a Dr. juris (Doctor of Law) from the University of Salzburg, a LL.M. (Master of Law) from the Harvard Law School as well as an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Dr. Benjamin Kleidt Portfolio Director
Before switching to DPE, Dr. Benjamin Kleidt was responsible for business operations as COO of Talenthouse, a start-up in Online and Content Marketing. Previously, he worked as Managing Director of Starwatch Entertainment, a subsidiary of the ProSiebenSat.1 Group, specializing in the business areas of Music, Live Entertainment, Events, Ticketing and Artist Management. He started his career at McKinsey, where he spent 5 years advising companies in the financial sector focusing on strategy and organization. Dr. Benjamin Kleidt studied Business Administration at the European Business School (ebs) in Oestrich-Winkel with periods in Argentina and New Zealand. He also obtained his doctorate at the ebs.
Andreas Klukas is a renowned financial expert who has worked for the most prestigious auditing and consulting companies. Since March 2017, DPE has been benefitting from his extensive, in-depth knowledge and experience. Prior to this, he worked as Senior Manager in the Finance Advisory area at KPMG AG in Munich. Here, he advised national and international firms in matters of accounting and the relevant financial processes. Andreas Klukas launched his career at Ernst & Young GmbH, where, as manager and authorized representative, he was most recently responsible for audits of annual accounts and consolidated financial statements, particularly in the area of Asset Management. The business management graduate studied European Management Studies in Germany and Finland and in addition acquired the title of German Public Auditor (Wirtschaftsprüfer).
Malgorzata Kowalska, Legal Associate
Before joining DPE, Malgorzata Kowalska worked as a lawyer for an investment company in Poland. She also advised numerous companies on contract and corporate law, mergers & acquisitions and due diligence, focusing particularly on software and e-commerce sector companies. Malgorzata Kowalska studied jurisprudence at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, at the University of Osnabrück and at the University of Passau. She is a registered lawyer in Poland and has also earned a Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) specializing in German law.
Richard Lancaster Chief Financial Officer
Richard Lancaster commands extensive private equity experience. He was previously a member of the Executive Board at Swiss Re Private Equity Partners, a European investor in private equity and infrastructure funds (managed assets: US$ 7.5 billion). Richard Lancaster also worked for Golding Capital Partners, a private equity investment manager and consultant for institutional investors in Germany (managed assets: €2.8 billion). Prior to this he was active as CFO at an innovative German company in the electronic installations area. At Booz & Company and Electronic Data Systems, he advised both German and international technology and industry customers on financial management, strategic and technological issues. Richard Lancaster obtained his MA in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Cambridge, UK, and his MBA at INSEAD in France.
Sergej Lehmann has been with DPE since January 2017. Prior to DPE, he worked as Investment Associate at Waterland Private Equity GmbH in Munich. There, he supported transactions in the German mid-cap space – especially in the software and e-commerce sectors. Sergej Lehmann started his career in investment banking at Credit Suisse in London, where he closed numerous financing transactions for financial institutions, metals & mining, oil & gas, and TMT companies. After his tenure at Credit Suisse, he gained further experience at strategy consultancy Stern Stewart, Munich, where he was responsible for corporate finance and M&A-advisory for German mid-cap clients. Sergej Lehmann studied business administration at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich and holds an MBA with distinction from INSEAD in France and Singapore.
Lisa Mathis Assistant to Marc Thiery
Lisa Mathis is Marc Thiery’s assistant. She is a qualified hotel specialist and has gained most of her 10 years of professional experience in hotels in various countries, such as Egypt, Bosnia, Russia, Switzerland and China. Before joining DPE, she held the position of deputy hotel manager of the Kempinski hotel in Yinchuan, China.
Wolfgang Neuner has been with DPE since September 2015. In his former position, he was active as an associate at KPS Capital Partners LP, an investor specialized in turnaround investments. Based in New York and Frankfurt, Wolfgang Neuner provided support for portfolio companies in the processing industry and supported them in both operational and financial restructuring. As a business studies graduate, he launched his career in investment banking at Credit Suisse in London, where he supervised numerous M&A and financing transactions in the sectors Metals and Mining, Automotive, Capital Goods, Chemicals and Transportation, as well as Logistics. Wolfgang Neuner studied business administration at the Goethe University in Frankfurt and also holds an MBA from the University of Iowa.
Heike Reithmann has many years of experience in managing private equity funds. In her role as an accountant, she is responsible for bookkeeping and the annual accounts of a number of DPE companies. Prior to joining DPE, she worked as an accountant in fund management for Munich-based Auctus Capital Partners for seven years. Heike Reithmann had already gained extensive business experience in various positions with the Siemens Group, both in Germany and abroad, as well as with semi-conductor specialist Infineon and Quimonda Flash.
Fabian Rücker Director
Fabian Rücker joined DPE in April 2011. Prior to this, he was an Associate at Morgan Stanley in Frankfurt where he advised on a series of M&A and capital market transactions. Fabian Rücker studied business management at the Goethe University in Frankfurt, at the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and the University of Sydney. Fabian Rücker obtained a degree in business management.
Anja Schuller Team Assistant
Anja Schuller supports the DPE office in Munich as a team assistant. She holds a commercial diploma in wholesale and foreign trade and has been active in various industrial businesses for almost 20 years.
Michaela Schwarzenberg Directors‘ Assistant
Michaela Schwarzenberg is an assistant to the DPE Directors. She obtained a Master of Arts degree in English Literature & Linguistics as well as in German Philology from Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich and University College Dublin. During her studies, she has gained a great deal of experience in customer support and as a sales assistant. Before joining DPE, she was employed in the administrative department of an industrial technologies company.
Dr. Christian Stammschulte Director
Before joining DPE, Dr. Christian Stammschulte was active as an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt and London where he advised on M&A and capital market transactions. He started his career at Morgan Stanley in London. Dr. Stammschulte holds a PhD from the House of Finance, University of Frankfurt, an MBA from Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, Pittsburgh, USA and studied business management at the European Business School, Oestrich-Winkel.
Michaela Stapfer Partner Assistant
Michaela Stapfer is Partner Assistant. She is a state approved master in hotel management and previously held a position at Ruf Automobile GmbH.
Dr. Anselm Stiehl Portfolio Director
Before joining DPE, Anselm Stiehl was active at Porsche Consulting GmbH for more than ten years – most recently as Principal of Management Consulting in the automotive area. His tasks focused on supporting international clients in the implementation of operational excellence. Anselm Stiehl began his career in the Dresdner Bank Group, where he advised medium-sized and large corporate bank clients on developing and implementing global expansion strategies. Dr. Stiehl holds a degree in business studies as well as an LL.M., majoring in Mergers & Acquisitions, from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management. Additionally, he earned his doctorate with a thesis on operational value creation.
Mark Suderow Director
Before changing to DPE in 2009, Mark Suderow worked for the investment banks Lehman Brothers and Nomura in Frankfurt and London in the field of Corporate Finance, where he accompanied and managed a series of transactions as a M&A and IPO consultant. The business management graduate started his career during the course of his studies as a freelancer for equity research at Rochdale Securities in New York. He studied business management at the European Business School (ebs) in Oestrich-Winkel, as well as at the National University of Singapore, Singapore, and the Unitec School of Business, Auckland. Markus Suderow obtained a degree in business management.
Mandy Völler Team Assistant
Mandy Völler supports the DPE office in Munich. She trained in hotel management and was previously active at Ashurst LLP in Munich.
Mathias Weidner Senior Partner Business Development
Before switching to DPE, Mathias Weidner was a partner at IMAP of many years’ standing, a leading international consulting firm for mergers and acquisitions. He combines long-standing experience in international transactions as a consultant for SMEs with his own distinctive business approach. Since 1998, has been supporting SMEs in national and international transactions at IMAP. From 2010, he focused on transactions between Chinese and German companies and was chairman of the IMAP China Desk. Between 2012 and 2016, Mathias Weidner also founded and managed several companies active in the education and social sectors, including the fundraising platform Crowd Charity. Before joining IMAP, Mr. Weidner held leading management positions in German SMEs for eight years.
Markus Wenz joined DPE in September 2016. Prior to this, he worked at Greenhill and, most recently, as an Associate at Morgan Stanley in Frankfurt. During his time in Investment Banking, Mr. Wenz gained experience advising on a number of M&A and capital markets transactions. Markus Wenz studied Business Management at European Business School (EBS) in Oestrich-Winkel and at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Markus also holds a Master degree in Accounting and Finance from London School of Economics.
The eight members of our advisory board represent an indispensable panel of consultants for us and our investments. Their entrepreneurial approaches and actions have made both them and our companies immensely successful. You can now share these experiences with our corporate family:
Dr. Jürgen Heraeus, Chairman of the Advisory Board
Dr. Jürgen Heraeus was born in Hanau, Germany in 1936. He studied business administration at the University of Munich, earning his PhD in 1963. He lived in the USA for nearly two years and worked for a variety of Heraeus subsidiaries before his appointment to the Board of Management of W. C. Heraeus GmbH in 1970. Dr. Heraeus subsequently became Chief Executive Officer of Heraeus Holding GmbH. He has been Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Heraeus Holding GmbH and Chairman of the Shareholders Committee since January 2000. Dr. Heraeus is also Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messer Group GmbH, as well as a member of the Supervisory Board of Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers KGaA. He also served as chairman of the supervisory board of GEA Group AG, an MDAX-listed company, until April of this year. Dr. Heraeus will chair the Business 20 (B20) business summit during the German presidency starting in September. Additionally, he is Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Deutsche Private Equity GmbH, and serves as honorary Chairman of the German United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, and Chairman of the Kathinka Platzhoff Foundation. As the father of five daughters, Dr. Jürgen Heraeus is particularly interested in educational policy.
Dr. Susanne Fuchs
Susanne Fuchs has reinforced the Advisory Board of DPE since 2017. As a third-generation family entrepreneur, she is a co-owner of Fuchs Petrolub SE. Established in 1931, the company is a listed family-owned business, with the majority of its shares owned by the founding family. Fuchs Petrolub develops, produces and distributes lubricants, and ranks among the global leaders in this business. The company has a workforce of around 5,000 employees in 40 countries and generated revenues of more than € 2.2 billion in 2016. Susanne Fuchs has been a member of the Supervisory Board of Fuchs Petrolub SE since 2017. Furthermore, she has worked in a voluntary capacity in Germany and England for almost 20 years. Schmierstoffe und verwandte Spezialitäten entwickelt, herstellt und vertreibt. After gaining her doctorate degree, the veterinarian initially worked in veterinary practices and clinics over the period from 1989 to 2005. From 2005 to 2011 she ran her own cytology and haematology laboratory. From 2013 onward, Susanne Fuchs gathered international experience in the context of her study of business administration at the Open University in England that she completed with an MBA in 2016.
Dr. Alfred Gossner
Since 2002, Dr. Alfred Gossner has been a member of the Executive Board of the Fraunhofer Institute, Europe’s largest leading organisation for contract research into the scientific and engineering disciplines as well as in applied mathematics. In the Executive Board, Dr. Gossner is responsible for Finance, Controlling, IT, Business Administration, Purchasing and Properties. Previously, he worked for the Allianz Group for sixteen years, most recently as an Executive Board member at Allianz Versicherungs AG.
Prof. Dr. Michael Heise
Mr. Heise is the Chief Economist and Head of the Economic Research Development division at Allianz SE. Mr. Heise advises Allianz SE’s Executive Board on economic and strategic issues and is responsible for analyses and forecasts in both the German and the international economy, including the financial markets and risk analysis. Before joining the Allianz Group, Mr. Heise was Secretary General of the German Council of Economic Experts, Chief Economist of the DG Bank and Chief Economist and Head of Research at the DZ Bank. Mr. Heise was named Forecaster of the Year in 2010 by the Financial Times Deutschland. He is a regular commentator for the European Central Bank and is an advisor to the German government.
James Kester is an experienced private capital investor and executive. Since 2000, Mr. Kester has built and managed global investment businesses for institutional investors. Most recently, he served as Chief Investment Officer of the Private Equity department of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds since 2010. He was also a member of the Executive, Investment, Strategy and Risk Committees. Prior to ADIA, he was the Head of Private Equity and a member of the Investment Committee for Zurich Alternative Asset Management, an investor in private equity, real estate and hedge funds on behalf of Zurich Financial Services. In 2000, Mr. Kester co-founded and was co-CEO of Allianz Private Equity Partners GmbH, an investment manager for Allianz Group and third-party client assets. Mr. Kester began his career as a finance executive at the General Electric Company followed by roles at the General Motors Corporation and with the Barents Group. He earned a BSc from Cornell University and holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Presently via Aquitaine Partners, Mr. Kester advises institutions on private markets strategies. He joined the DPE advisory board in 2017.
Dr.-Ing. E.h. Peter Leibinger
Peter Leibinger joined the DPE’s Advisory Board in 2018. He is the Vice Chairman of the Group Management Board and Chief Technology Officer of TRUMPF, a global leader in manufacturing machine tools and industrial lasers, with a workforce of 12,000 employees and annual revenues of more than €3 billion. In this function, Leibinger, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering, was responsible, among other tasks, for research and development, sales and service, as well as the development and expansion of new business units. Having completed his degree at RWTH University in Aachen, Peter Leibinger initially joined Ingersoll Milling Machine Company, Rockford, IL/USA, as a design engineer. He subsequently headed up the US subsidiary of TRUMPF before taking over at the helm of the Laser Technology Business Division in 2003. He has been the CTO of the TRUMPF Group since July 1, 2017. Peter Leibinger is committed to promoting research. He is also the spokesman for the “Photonik Forschung Deutschland” program committee of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In addition, as a committed Christian, he also performs a great deal of voluntary work, for instance in the Arbeitskreis Evangelischer Unternehmer (AEU), a network of protestant entrepreneurs and executives.
Dr. Rolf Steffens
Dr. Steffens was formerly a Senior Partner at DPE, primarily responsible for deal sourcing. In 1998, he initiated an equal joint venture between Granville Baird in London and Steffens Alvano & Partner GmbH in Hamburg on which Granville Baird’s private equity funding and investment activities in Germany were based. Dr. Steffens founded Steffens, Alvano in 1990 and developed it into a leading German mid-market corporate finance and M&A advisory firm. Prior to that he worked for ten years as Partner and Managing Director with the Angermann Group, a Hamburg based M&A and business advisor. Dr. Steffens gained six years of industrial experience at the Cargill Group, a large privately held American agriculture conglomerate. Dr. Steffens received his MSc in economics at the University of Hamburg and completed his Ph.D. at the HWWA-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung in Hamburg.
Dr. Nicolas von Rosty
Dr. Nicolas von Rosty joined the Advisory Council of DPE as an active member in 2016. He is one of Germany’s most eminent experts in executive development and executive search. He also contributes his experience as CEO of a start-up and CEO of a group’s national subsidiary. At Spencer Stuart he heads up business in Germany and is a member of the Industrial department, the Board & CEO, as well as Law & Compliance. As a high-calibre executive search consultant and former head of executive development at Siemens, Nicolas von Rosty has extensive experience in placing experts in industry and in executive assessment. At Siemens, where he reported directly to the CEO, he was responsible for filling all the key functions in the group as well as the remuneration systems. He gathered entrepreneurial experience as general manager of an Internet start-up of the ThyssenKrupp Group and as CEO of a national subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp in Mexico. Nicolas von Rosty studied law in Heidelberg and Hamburg where he graduated as a lawyer with a doctorate degree. Along with German, he speaks fluent English and Spanish.