A private equity fund backed by Canada's largest financial institutions is expected to land veteran financier George Rossolatos as its first chief executive officer.
Mr. Rossolatos is currently the CEO of security company Avante Logixx Inc., but sources say he has been tapped as the CEO of the Canadian Business Growth Fund, which was launched in March with $500-million of funding from major banks and insurers and strong support from the federal government. An announcement could come as early as next week, and the fund is also expected to name an inaugural board chair in the near future.
In addition to working at Toronto-based Avante for the past seven years, Mr. Rossolatos is the founder and current CEO of private equity firm Riverdale Capital Corp. and co-founder of TorQuest Partners Inc., one of the country's largest PE funds. He could not be reached for comment.
The new fund is meant to be a made-in-Canada solution to the challenges facing small-to-medium-sized businesses as they attempt to raise capital. The Toronto-based fund is expected to make $3-million to $20-million equity investments in companies, with a relatively long commitment of up to 10 years.
The fund's investments are aimed at bridging the perceived gap between angel investors and venture capitalists and public market funding. When launched in March, the fund announced plans to start committing capital by early in 2018.
Over his 17-year career in private equity, Mr. Rossolatos has worked at three funds that focused on investments in medium-sized companies. Prior to joining a private equity fund, he was an accountant with Ernst & Young LLP, managing a group focused on advising middle-market businesses. Mr. Rossolatos holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and an undergraduate business degree from Queen's University.
Canada's fund is backed by 13 institutions that collectively have pledged more than $500-million. The group includes the country's six largest banks, insurers Manulife Financial Corp., Sun Life Financial Inc. and Great-West Lifeco Inc.; mid-sized banks such as HSBC Bank Canada, Laurentian Bank of Canada and Canadian Western Bank, as well as Alberta-based ATB Financial. There are also plans for an advisory network to work with entrepreneurs backed by the fund.
The initiative is patterned on a U.K. venture capital fund launched in 2011 with £2.5-billion ($4.1-billion) in capital from five of Britain's largest banks.