Alexander Dibelius

The Return of the Overachiever

Dibelius Handelsblatt
Alexander Dibelius reinvents himself once again, this time as a finance investor at CVC Capital Partners in London.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Mr. Dibelius is expected to leverage his extensive network and in-depth knowledge of the German and Austrian markets to find and structure new deals for CVC Capital Partners.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Alexander Dibelius left his job as head of Goldman Sachs Germany last fall.
    • Steve Koltes, co-chairman of CVC, reached out to Mr. Dibelius, whom he worked with on numerous deals over the past 20 years.
    • His new role is a better fit since private equity firms are not burdened by the same kinds of regulations as banks.
  • Audio

    Audio

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After a difficult year dominated by headlines about his turbulent private life and exit from Goldman Sachs, where he led business in Germany and Austria, Alexander Dibelius is embarking on a new career over the summer. It will be his fourth incarnation so far.

As a surgeon, he operated on hearts. As a business consultant at McKinsey, he dissected companies. And as the top dealmaker at Goldman Sachs in Germany, he was the savior of “Deutschland AG,” a term used to describe the network of major banks, insurance and industrial companies that make up the bulk of Germany’s business establishment.

He’s a go-getter, accustomed not only to success, but high levels of success. But last year, as the 55-year old became a father for the first time in the midst of a bitter divorce, he appeared to be more hunted than hunter, as the tabloid media descended on him.

Now, for his next reincarnation, Mr. Dibelius will join the London-based financial investment firm CVC Capital Partners, where he will have the chance to do what he excelled at while with Goldman: Hunt down potential purchases and orchestrate deals in the German-speaking region.

The telephone call from CVC co-chairman Steve Koltes came last fall, shortly after Mr. Dibelius had stepped down as head of Goldman Sachs in Germany. The two men have known each other for over two decades, working together on many deals where Mr. Dibelius was the consultant and Mr. Koltes, as the head of CVC Germany, made the purchase offers.

The big advantage at CVC is that the investment fund isn’t publicly listed and doesn’t carry the same regulatory burdens as banks.

Mr. Dibelius wanted to get into the private equity sector. At Goldman, he was not only a third party consultant in numerous deals, but invested heavily in companies like Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s largest cable TV operator.

As a private investor, he has a good eye. He restored the Munich villa once owned by the writer Thomas Mann and reportedly sold it for €30 million ($33.8 million), then purchased a villa in Berlin at a far more favorable price.

People close to Mr. Dibelius say he considered concentrating on private-equity deals for Goldman across Europe, but the regulatory restrictions imposed on banks since the financial crisis seemed too tight. He also thought about launching his own fund, but ultimately gave up the idea.

A career as one of the global managing partners of the British investment fund looked more attractive as CVC and Goldman have many things in common. First and foremost, they share a culture oriented towards talent and success – it’s no coincidence that there are many ex-Goldman Sachs people working at CVC, including four in the Frankfurt office alone.

With their high rates of return, both companies are considered the gold standard in their respective sectors. Both, at times, have taken a lot of criticism for it, too.

The big advantage at CVC is that the investment fund isn’t publicly listed and doesn’t carry the same regulatory burdens as banks. The fund also operates with more secrecy, a characteristic that until now hasn’t been one of the hallmarks of Mr. Dibelius.

At any rate, with the move to CVC, investment banking’s colorful figure has proven wrong those who said he would be spending his future changing diapers. A close friend said Mr. Dibelius never considered anything other than a fresh professional challenge. “Playing golf isn’t his thing,” the friend said. “He also tends to play rather poorly.”

 

Daniel Schäfer is head of Handelsblatt’s finance pages and is based in Frankfurt. To contact the author: schaefer@handelsblatt.com

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