JONATHAN Chenevix-Trench, once investment bank Morgan Stanley’s most powerful executive in Europe, has stepped back onto the business radar by setting up an investment company focused on sub-Saharan Africa.
Chenevix-Trench formerly spent 23 years at the bank, latterly as chairman of Morgan Stanley International. He left after the promotion he had been coveting – to co-president of the bank – was handed to Walid Chammah and James Gorman, who replaced John Mack as chief executive at the beginning of the year.
Chenevix-Trench has set up his new venture, African Century, alongside Henry Pitman, the founder of professional support services provider Tribal Group. He will take a backseat role as non-executive director, while Pitman is chairman of the group.
“Our intention is to become the most trustworthy and transparent investment platform in Africa, representing the highest standards of business practice and corporate responsibility,” the firm’s website states.
African Century intends to acquire primarily majority stakes in small to medium-sized businesses with minimum revenues of around $5m (£3.3m), in which the company would take an active day-to-day role.
It plans to take advantage of forecasts for Africa to become a key emerging market opportunity, with soaring GDP growth anticipated on the continent over the next decade.
Chenevix-Trench is also non-executive chairman of Ashdown Capital, a London-based real estate company investing in commercial, retail and residential property in the UK and Germany.
His late father Anthony was a former headmaster of elite public school Eton, while his brother Richard Chenevix-Trench is chief investment officer at fund manager Sloane Robinson.