Serge Desprat is a professional with more than 35 years of international experience in private equity, business development and M&A globally with an early sector focus on financial institutions and insurance. He also has been involved in international relations and security matters since the early 1980s. Born and raised on the left bank of Paris, Serge sees himself today as a French-rooted Transatlantic European.
Since early 2018 he has started publishing book notes and views on world affairs and the defense of Western liberal values to his global network of business and government, private equity and media deciders, most of them friends, partners or colleagues which led to the smooth creation of Desperate Measures. He was the author in August 2020 of “2027”, a fictional Orwellian geopolitical journey into the post-pandemic Trumpian near future and a world upside down.
Today Serge works on private equity projects he likes which reflect his values and are not simply driven by money even if the latter is key. From December 2013 to October 2017, Serge was the Global Coordinator of the Global Fund Advisory Platform of PwC Corporate Finance, the center of excellence which he co-founded for PwC in PE fund placement and strategic advisory services globally. He was also Senior Adviser on CEE and French matters to Munich-based Golding Capital Partners, the leading independent German PE fund of funds manager in 2013. Prior to this role, Serge was an independent consultant (as part of his firm, Desprat s.r.o. – acting as in-house adviser to client teams) mainly dealing with PE fund and direct investment advisory services on a global basis. His PE asset class coverage includes buyout, growth capital, venture capital, real estate, natural resources, infrastructure and clean-tech funds globally mainly on behalf of European and U.S. alternative assets platforms. His global investor network comprises Development Financial Institutions, funds of funds, private and public pension funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies, banks, Sovereign Wealth Funds and single and multi-family offices with a main focus on Europe and North America and a secondary focus on Asia/Australasia and the Middle East.
Prior to 2010, Serge was a partner at Europa Partners Limited, a London-based investment banking advisory firm, mainly responsible for private equity fund advisory and placement worldwide (2005-2010). Serge was also a Senior Advisor – CEE to Keefe Bruyette & Woods, the US specialist investment bank in financial services M&A advisory in 2006-2007. From 2003 to 2005, Serge was Managing Director & Head of Financial Institutions at Vienna-based European Privatization and Investment Corporation GmbH (EPIC), a CEE-focused investment bank/M&A and investment firm. He was CEE Financial Services Leader – Corporate Finance at PwC in Prague and covered 20 countries in the region (2001-2003). Prior to PwC, he was head of international placement for Paris-based Edmond de Rothschild’s PE funds in 2000. He was Senior Banker – Head of the Insurance Investment Unit, Financial Institutions (1993-1998) and in parallel Head of the Business Development Unit (1995-1996) at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”), where he completed fifteen principal direct investment projects in CEE and started his involvement in the PE fund sector. From 1988 to 1992, Serge was an investment banker at S.G. Warburg & Co. Ltd in London and Paris focusing on cross-border European M&A advisory mandates (acquisitions, disposals and takeover defense). From 1986 to 1987, Serge worked at New York-based Johnson & Higgins, a leading corporate insurance broker, as a senior corporate planning analyst.
Serge has been a member of the Paris-based “Institut Français des Relations Internationales” (IFRI), one of the leading European international relations think tanks, on and off since 1981. Between 1983-1984, Serge served in West Germany in the 3rd Hussar, a French reconnaissance armored cavalry regiment deployed alongside U.S. and NATO forces, with stints in West Berlin. Serge is a recipient of the French National Defense Medal for services rendered. Over recent years Serge has been an angel investor in a few start-up companies. In 2016 he was the leading seed capital investor in Cyber Essentials Direct Ltd., a UK-based cybersecurity company focused on securing corporate supply chains whose Chairman is Lord Blunkett, former Home Secretary to Tony Blair, PM. www.cybersessentialsdirect.com In 2017 Serge was also an early investor in Toorbee, a Hong-Kong fintech company focused on the pre-pandemic mega-trend of rising outbound Chinese middle-class tourism globally www.toorbee.com on the basis that in our times sound globalization is the best way to avoid conflicts among world competitors at many levels.
Serge holds an M.B.A. Degree and an M.I.M. Degree (both with Distinctions) from the Thunderbird School of Global Management (Glendale, Arizona) and a Masters’ Degree in International Relations and Business (first in class) from the “Institut d’Etudes des Relations Internationales” (Paris, France). At Thunderbird, Serge was also a Teaching Assistant in Insurance and Risk Management Studies. In addition, Serge attended graduate courses (international economics and foreign policy studies) at Harvard University in 1981-1982 (two full terms) as well as a special executive private equity & venture capital program at Harvard Business School in 2008. Serge initially studied at Ecole Alsacienne and College Stanislas in Paris. He was a member of the ten-strong National Youth Leadership team of the neo-Gaullist RPR party then led by future French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 1980-81. He is a French national and speaks English and French fluently, having working knowledge of German and received introductory training in Czech and Russian. Serge resides in Prague where his family has been permanently located since 2006.
As seen on the picture, Serge cannot easily smile, this following brain surgery in August 2009 though he is quite a funny chap in spite of the seriousness of his drive.