THE chairman of Permira, the renowned private equity group, is to stand down, it emerged last night, to focus on turning around its ailing portfolio of companies. <br /><br />It is understood that Damon Buffini will search for new deals, seeking to add to the firm’s holdings in his new position.<br /><br />The news ends speculation that the 47-year-old was set on retiring, and shows his commitment to reinventing the company. <br /><br />Buffini had been under fire for offering harsh terms to investors who wanted to opt-out of a commitment to Permira’s latest buy-out fund. <br /><br />He has also been criticised for the poor performance of recent deals at the group, including a deal with Valentino, an Italian fashion firm.<br /><br />It is understood he will stand down from the chairmanship in 2010, but will remain at Permira as a full-time partner. He will also sit on the board and investment committee at the company. <br /><br />Permira has been struggling as companies in its portfolio face the downturn. Once a top-performer amongst Europe’s private equity groups, Permira is now suffering as clients, including Gala Coral, battle the financial storm. Permira was not available for comment last night.