Former HSBC Holdings Plc Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson is set to join a Singapore-based technology investor as its chairman, marking his first role since leaving Europe’s largest bank at the start of the year.
(Bloomberg) — Former HSBC Holdings Plc Chief Financial Officer Ewen Stevenson is set to join a Singapore-based technology investor as its chairman, marking his first role since leaving Europe’s largest bank at the start of the year.
Stevenson will join Serendipity Capital Holdings Ltd. as non-executive chairman next month, teaming up with his former Credit Suisse colleague Rob Jesudason, who founded the investment vehicle four years ago.
Serendipity manages assets worth about $420 million, having raised funds from more than 100 investors over three financing rounds since its founding in late 2019. Many of the shareholders include friends and former colleagues of Jesudason’s, including Steve Roder, former CFO of Manulife Financial Corp. and AIA Group Ltd., Mark Machin, former president and CEO of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, and Martijn Wilder, founder and CEO of Pollination Group Holdings Ltd.
Stevenson and Jesudason are close friends, having known each other for more than two decades, with the former acting as one of the seed investors in Serendipity. Their careers overlapped for several years as investment bankers at Credit Suisse’s financial institutions advisory business.
“Rob and I have been in discussions for some time about this,” Stevenson said in a telephone interview. “It was a natural evolution.”
The former HSBC executive is looking to take on a few roles as chair in the venture capital and private equity spaces, and the one at Serendipity would be the first, he added.
HSBC surprised investors in October with the announcement of Stevenson’s departure just shy of his fourth anniversary as CFO. He was replaced by HSBC’s co-head of global banking and markets business, Georges Elhedery, in what Chief Executive Officer Noel Quinn said was part of the bank’s long-term succession planning.
Jesudason said the hiring of Stevenson — who will work one day a week from London — was the first stage of a plan to expand Serendipity’s business in the UK and Europe as it looks to grow in size. Stevenson replaces John O’Sullivan, who will step down from the firm’s board at the end of the month.
“Although we’re headquartered in Singapore, we see enormous growth,” said Jesudason speaking in the joint interview. “This is the first step in ultimately setting up a second office in the UK and adding headcount there. Over time we will have partners in the UK.”
He sees his firm adding “hundreds of millions of dollars” in capital over the next three to five years and is examining a plan to list possibly in the next five to eight years, he said.
Serendipity is focused on investing in startups in the fields of artificial intelligence, quantum computing and climate change. It was an early investor in Cambridge Quantum, which is now known as Quantinuum following a merger. It has also put money into Encompass, a regulatory compliance company, and QuantrolOx, a University of Oxford spinout that focuses on machine learning software for quantum computing.
About 80% of Serendipity’s investments are in Australia, the UK and US, and the recent signing by the three countries of the AUKUS defense pact is seen as a potential springboard for further investment as the collaboration expands to technology sharing, Jesudason said.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.