Incoming Panmure Gordon boss Ian Axe pledges to retain City broker's "nice guy" image when he replaces Patric Johnson

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Atlas Merchant Capital and QInvest have agreed a £15.5m takeover deal for Panmure Gordon (Source: Getty)

The incoming chief executive of Panmure Gordon has pledged to retain the City stockbroker’s “nice guy” image.

Ian Axe, a former Barclays executive, is to take charge of the firm when its £15.5m takeover by Bob Diamond’s Atlas Merchant Capital (AMC) and QInvest is complete.

Axe, who worked under Diamond at Barclays and was AMC’s “first choice” for the Panmure job, is to replace Patric Johnson, who took up the position last year.

Read more: Ex-Barclays exec to take charge of Panmure as part of Bob Diamond takeover

“I think ‘nice guy’ is good,” Axe told City A.M. when asked what the changes would mean for Panmure’s culture. “It’s a build story. The professionals here are, we believe, liked by their clients and have their clients’ best interests at heart, and we like that culture.

“It’s not really about, in any way, a transformation. It’s about evolving the current business model and complementing it, and investing with the capital [from AMC and QInvest].”

Matt Hansen, European head of AMC, added: “We’re enabling those same nice guys with more products, more capital and more capability. That’s what we’re doing.”

Axe started his career at SBC Warburg in 1995, first worked for Barclays in 2002 and was chief executive of LCH.Clearnet until 2014. Asked for a brief summary of his career, he said: “I started off as a milkman – no, that’s not true. You can quote it, but it’s not true.”

Read more: Panmure Gordon boss: Bob Diamond and QInvest offer a "huge compliment"

Asked about how he came into the Panmure role, Axe pointed to his building relationships with AMC, QInvest and other minority shareholders. “Clearly I know Bob, but it’s not from the Barclays days,” he said.

Asked how hands-on investors would be with Panmure, Hansen said: “We view ourselves as very long-term, very supportive investors who are there certainly as the management team needs us or calls on us… Certainly the management team is in the lead and Ian is the head of that management team.”

Hansen also spoke of his pleasure at being able to name Axe as Panmure’s chief executive. “I’ve been doing private equity for almost 20 years now, and I’ll tell you that the number of times you succeed in bringing in a CEO of your first choice into a business, there’s a high failure rate,” he said. “We’re lucky that in this case we’re able to make this great news announcement.”

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