Our senior leadership team has extensive experience of investing and managing assets in the SME market across Europe, each averaging over 20 years of industry experience.

We have an investment team with a remarkable track record in delivering unique deal flow and superior investment returns. It is supported by experienced mid and back-office professionals and an institutional infrastructure, including strong financial controls, portfolio transparency and a comprehensive reporting system.

ESO Capital is a true partnership where several senior executives have significant equity stakes and the investment decisions are made collaboratively.

Alex Schmid
Founding Partner
Bio
Alex Schmid
Alex Schmid

Alex Schmid
Founding Partner

Alex is a Founding Partner and CEO of ESO.  With over 25 years of illiquid investment experience across Europe, his insight and experience is invaluable across all divisions of the firm.  He is actively involved in the sourcing and underwriting of new deals and is a member of the firm’s Investment Committee. Prior to founding ESO, Mr. Schmid was Managing Director and Head of Europe at DB Zwirn (London). He is fluent in German. BSE, Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.

Walid Fakhry
Founding Partner
Bio
Walid Fakhry
Walid Fakhry

Walid Fakhry
Founding Partner

Walid is responsible for the overall operations of the firm and is responsible for TMT coverage. Prior to joining ESO, Walid co-founded Core Capital in 2004, having had past experience in operations, strategy consulting and investment banking.  Prior to that, Walid founded and sold one of the largest ISP’s in the middle east. BSc. Mechanical Engineering, BSc. Finance & MSc in Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Stephen Edwards
Founding Partner
Bio
Stephen Edwards
Stephen Edwards

Stephen Edwards
Founding Partner

Stephen is a Founding Partner and leads the UK corporate investment activities at ESO. Prior to ESO, he co-founded Core Capital in 2004, and has over 25 years investing experience in SMEs. He was formerly Managing Director at Beringea Private Equity, and a director of Hg Capital and Grosvenor. Stephen is also a Chartered Accountant and started his career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in London in Corporate Finance where he spent 6 years advising on numerous private equity transactions. Stephen has led, managed or arranged over 25 transactions and currently sits on the board of several portfolio companies, including Brasserie Barco, Turbine Efficiency, and Avonside. BA (Hons) Economics, Durham University, and ACA ICAEW.

Richard Butler
Founding Partner & COO
Bio
Richard Butler
Richard Butler

Richard Butler
Founding Partner & COO

Richard is a Founding Partner at ESO. Richard has principal responsibility for set up and structuring of all investment funds, ongoing tax structuring at a fund and deal level, FX hedging and day to day operations of the firm. Richard sits on the boards of both regulated and unregulated ESO Funds in Luxembourg. Prior to joining ESO, Richard was Financial Controller at Bank of America with responsibility for European domiciled Special Purpose Vehicles. Previously he served as Financial Controller at Lehman Brothers with responsibility for real estate and non-performing loans. A chartered accountant, Richard was also previously with Moore Stephens as a Senior Auditor. He is fluent in French and Spanish. BA (Hons) Law, University of Nottingham; FCA, ICAEW. 

Christian Fritsch
Partner
Bio
Christian Fritsch
Christian Fritsch

Christian Fritsch
Partner

Christian is responsible for the oversight of DACH corporate investments.  He also holds board positions at a number of ESO’s current investments in Germany.  Prior to joining ESO, Christian was at Lazard as Managing Director and Head of Restructuring and Capital Structure Advisory in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  Prior to Lazard, he worked for the private investment firm Anchorage Capital where he was responsible for credit, special situations and illiquid investments in the German-speaking region. Before joining Anchorage, Christian led Cerberus Capital Management’s private equity and distressed investment business in Germany.  He previously worked as an investment professional at Doughty Hanson in London and Frankfurt and started his career at Merrill Lynch in London, advising numerous German, European and American clients on M&A and capital market transactions. MBA from Passau University in Germany.

Rhonda Nicoll
Partner & CFO
Bio
Rhonda Nicoll
Rhonda Nicoll

Rhonda Nicoll
Partner & CFO

Rhonda has responsibility for all financial matters, including all reporting at both corporate and fund level, audits and tax reporting. Rhonda also has responsibility for compliance, and acts as compliance officer and money laundering reporting officer. Before joining ESO, Rhonda was Finance Director at Core Capital from 2010 having spent a total of 13 years in fund accounting and administration at F&C Asset Management. Rhonda is a CIMA qualified investment accountant.

David Christie
Partner, Head of Real Estate
Bio
David Christie
David Christie

David Christie
Partner, Head of Real Estate

With over 20 years' experience in the industry, David is responsible for ESO’s investment activity in real estate.  He has spent the majority of his career with prominent real estate investors including ARES, Doughty Hanson and Green Property.  David’s focus has traditionally been delivering strong returns within value-add and opportunistic investment strategies, and this has included landmark investments such as the Knightsbridge Estate in London. He began his career at Knight Frank where he qualified as a Chartered Surveyor in their City of London office. BSc (Hons) in Property Valuation& Finance, City University Business School.

Demetri Dinopoulos
Partner, Head of Asset Management
Bio
Demetri Dinopoulos
Demetri Dinopoulos

Demetri Dinopoulos
Partner, Head of Asset Management

Demetri is Partner at ESO and Head of Asset Management, the function within ESO responsible for the monitoring, oversight and management of investments. Demetri also sits on a number of portfolio company Boards. Prior to joining ESO, Demetri was a private equity professional at Electra Private Equity. Demetri is a Chartered Accountant, having served his articles with PricewaterhouseCoopers in their Investment Management and Assurance division, where he trained and qualified. BA (Hons) Business & Accounting, MBA, Exeter University, member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

James Smallridge
Director
Bio
James Smallridge
James Smallridge

James Smallridge
Director

James is a Director in the investment team at ESO and is principally responsible for the sourcing and execution of transactions across the UK and Europe. Before joining ESO, James was a Partner at Core Capital responsible for sourcing, making and managing investments in the UK lower mid-market.  Prior to that he was an Investment Manager at RJD Partners, a UK lower mid-market private equity investor, where his responsibilities included analysing, transacting and monitoring new investment opportunities. Prior to this James spent 9 years with KPMG within its corporate finance team in London. BEng (Civil) (Hons), University of Bristol. James is a Member of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments.

David Steel
Director
Bio
David Steel
David Steel

David Steel
Director

David is a Director on the investment team at ESO and is responsible for sourcing, evaluation and execution of transactions across the UK.  Prior to joining ESO, David was a Partner of Core Capital for over 10 years, where he made equity investments including the successful exits of Camwatch, AlliedPRA and most recently in Alpine Fire where he currently sits on the board.  David began his career at KPMG principally within its corporate finance team for 6 years.  BSc (Hons), University of Nottingham; ACT.

Tingting Peng
Director, Head of Investor Relations & Fundraising
Bio
Tingting Peng
Tingting Peng

Tingting Peng
Director, Head of Investor Relations & Fundraising

Tingting is the Head of Investor Relations and Fundraising at ESO, with coverage of investors across Europe, North America and Asia. Prior to joining ESO, Tingting was Principal and Chief Operating Officer at Real Asset Partners, a boutique advisory firm in London where she was responsible for raising capital from family offices and institutional investors across Asia and the US for real estate direct and fund investments. Previously, Tingting was based in Hong Kong where she worked in real estate development and investment across Asia and the US. She began her career as an investment banking analyst in Morgan Stanley’s M&A team in Hong Kong and was subsequently a pan-Asian equity analyst at Fortress Investment Group.  She is fluent in Mandarin and English. BSc, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MBA, London Business School.

Karim Askar
Director
Bio
Karim Askar
Karim Askar

Karim Askar
Director

Karim is a Director on ESO’s investment team and is responsible for the sourcing and execution of transactions in both the UK and Germany.Prior to joining ESO, he was an Associate at AEA Investors in London. At AEA, Karim completed several private equity investments with a focus on European and North American industrial and energy & power companies. Karim began his career as a management consultant at Bain & Company in Zurich where he focused on private equity, consumer goods and industrial clients across Europe. He is fluent in English and German. MA in Accounting and Finance and BA in Business Administration, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland.

Greg Beamish
Director
Bio
Greg Beamish
Greg Beamish

Greg Beamish
Director

In his role as Director on the investment team at ESO, Greg’s principal responsibility is the sourcing and execution of transactions across the UK and Ireland with a strong focus on regional networks.  He has been responsible for the execution of transactions in both the UK and the Nordic region. Greg is currently on secondment at ESF Capital, one of ESO’s portfolio companies, where he is assisting to build up the in-house credit team. Prior to joining ESO, Greg was a Senior Associate at Sun European Partners, LLP in London, an affiliate of Sun Capital Inc. Previously, he was an Investment Executive at Babson Capital Europe Ltd, a European high yield bond and leverage loan manager, where his responsibilities included analysing and transacting new investment opportunities. Greg began his career at KPMG within its corporate finance team. BSc (Hons), University of Bristol; CFA® charterholder.

Steven Ferris
Director
Bio
Steven Ferris
Steven Ferris

Steven Ferris
Director

Steven is a Director on ESO’s Asset Management team, with responsibility for assets in Funds III, V and VI.  In addition to his monitoring of specific deals, Steven works closely with external parties on third party valuations for all existing and prospective investments. Prior to joining ESO, Steven worked for KPMG Corporate Finance within its Valuations Group. Previously he worked for PwC within its Corporate Finance and Valuations teams, where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. BAcc (Hons), University of Dundee; MSc Accounting & Finance, The London School of Economics; Chartered Accountant; Securities & Investment Institute Diploma.

Adrian Martyn
Director
Bio
Adrian Martyn
Adrian Martyn

Adrian Martyn
Director

In his role as Director on the Asset Management team, Adrian is responsible for the monitoring and management of a number of existing assets within the ESO funds across multiple jurisdictions.  Prior to joining ESO, Adrian was a Vice President at Icora Partners, a firm set up to manage the wind-down of a large investment fund. Whilst at Icora, he was extensively involved with restructuring, asset management and M&A activities and worked with the underlying businesses to improve internal controls and operational performance. Previously, he worked for Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander as an Associate in its Mergers & Acquisitions team. Adrian started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia. B.Com (Accounting) / B.Business Systems, Monash University; Chartered Accountant.

Howard Chan
Director
Bio
Howard Chan
Howard Chan

Howard Chan
Director

Howard is a Director on the Asset Management team at ESO and is responsible for monitoring and management of a number of assets as well as supporting the investment team on new transactions.  Prior to joining ESO, Howard was an Investment Manager of Core Capital for over 7 years, where he was involved in investments in Avonside and Alpine Fire as well as the exits of SPL, Colway and AlliedPRA.  Howard previously worked at McQueen (now Houlihan Lokey), the mid-market consumer M&A boutique, and National Bank of Canada in the investment banking team.  BCom (Hons), University of British Columbia.

James Sharp
Director
Bio
James Sharp
James Sharp

James Sharp
Director

In his role as Director on the Asset Management team, James is responsible for the monitoring and management of a number of existing assets within the ESO funds. Prior to joining ESO, he was a Director within the family office of a UHNWI where he focused on asset management of portfolio companies. James has previously worked within the Transactions and Restructuring team at KPMG where he gained the JIEB insolvency qualification. Prior to this, he worked for PwC in audit and restructuring, where he qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. BSc (Hons), Chemistry. University of Nottingham.

Razzak Akbar
Director
Bio
Razzak Akbar
Razzak Akbar

Razzak Akbar
Director

Razzak is a Director in the Finance team and is responsible for the accounting, financial reporting & compliance for Funds V & VI. He also has overall responsibility for managing the FX hedging exposure for these Funds. Prior to joining ESO, Razzak worked at Deloitte in both their London and Bermuda offices specialising in clients within the private equity, hedge funds and alternative investments space. He graduated with a first class honours degree in Computer Science with Management from Kings College London and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. 

Gabi Cohen
Principal
Bio
Gabi Cohen
Gabi Cohen

Gabi Cohen
Principal

Gabi is responsible for interactions with ESO’s existing investor base and assists with fundraising activities in Europe. Prior to joining ESO, Gabi was a Vice President at Intermediate Capital Group where she focused on fundraising and investor relations across ICG’s various credit, real estate and private equity secondaries funds. Previously, Gabi was at HSBC as part of its credit valuation control division. Business Science, University of Cape Town, Chartered Accountant (SAICA).

Richard Hunt
Principal
Bio
Richard Hunt
Richard Hunt

Richard Hunt
Principal

In his role as Principal at ESO, Richard is responsible for supporting the investment team in the sourcing and execution of new transactions across Europe.  Prior to joining ESO, he was an Associate in J.P.Morgan’s Acquisition and Leveraged Finance team in London where he focused on debt transactions for private equity owned companies across Europe, particularly within the consumer and retail sector. Richard began his career at J.P.Morgan in Credit Risk. BA in Russian and Management, University College London.  

Matthew Hewlett
Principal
Bio
Matthew Hewlett
Matthew Hewlett

Matthew Hewlett
Principal

Matt is a Principal within the investment team at ESO and is responsible for sourcing, evaluation and execution of transactions across the UK.  Prior to joining ESO, Matt was an Investment Manager of Core Capital, where he completed the buyout of Turbine Efficiency and supported existing investments in Brasserie BarCo and Ark Home Healthcare.  Matt has also worked in M&A roles for IRIS Software and NetNames, both backed by HgCapital, and previously was at Lloyds Banking Group leading restructuring of distressed private equity-backed businesses.

Marko Celic
Principal
Bio
Marko Celic
Marko Celic

Marko Celic
Principal

In his role as Principal at ESO, Marko is responsible for supporting the investment team in the sourcing and execution of new transactions across Europe.  Prior to joining ESO, he commenced his career as an Analyst in Goldman Sachs’ Technology, Media and Telecommunications group in London. Marko is fluent in English, German, and Serbo-Croatian. MSc in Advanced Economics and Finance (cand. oecon), Copenhagen Business School, Denmark; BSc in Economics and Business Administration with specialization in Finance & Accounting, Goethe-University, Frankfurt a.M., Germany.

Stuart Hamilton
Associate
Bio
Stuart Hamilton
Stuart Hamilton

Stuart Hamilton
Associate

Stuart is an Associate at ESO with responsibility for supporting the investment team in sourcing and executing new transactions. Prior to joining ESO, Stuart was an Executive at Core Capital. He initially trained as a Chartered Accountant at BDO before transferring to the M&A team, where he spent 4 years advising on both buy-side and sell-side private equity transactions.  MA in Accounting and Finance, Leeds University Business School; BSc in Business and Psychology, University of Leeds; ACA.

Tom Wakeman
Principal
Bio
Tom Wakeman
Tom Wakeman

Tom Wakeman
Principal

Tom is responsible for the accounting, financial reporting and compliance for Funds I, II, III and IV and the ESO Group companies. Prior to joining ESO, Tom worked at Crowe Clark Whitehill in the Pension Funds group. He graduated from the University of Manchester with a BA in Economics, is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and is a CFA® charterholder.

Harshil Dodhia
Financial Controller
Bio
Harshil Dodhia
Harshil Dodhia

Harshil Dodhia
Financial Controller

Harshil is responsible for the accounting, financial reporting and compliance for Funds I, II, III, IV and the ESO Group companies. Prior to joining ESO, Harshil was an Assistant Manager at BDO in London working in their Financial Services Audit department and has also worked in EY’s Banking and Capital Market Assurance division. He graduated from the University of Nottingham with a BSc in Economics and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

Ka Chun Wong
Treasury Controller
Bio
Ka Chun Wong
Ka Chun Wong

Ka Chun Wong
Treasury Controller

Ka Chun joined ESO in 2012 and is responsible for Treasury functions for ESO Funds, supporting the finance team on cash management and assisting in day-to-day back office/administration.

Vince O'Brien
Adviser
Bio
Vince O'Brien
Vince O'Brien

Vince O'Brien
Adviser

Vince is an Adviser at ESO, having joined Core Capital as an adviser in 2017.  Vince has worked in the private equity industry for nearly 30 years. A former Chairman of the British Venture Capital Association, he served for more than 20 years as a partner with Montagu Private Equity, a mid-market private equity manager with over €5 billion of assets under management. He started his private equity career at Coopers and Lybrand where he assisted management teams in fundraising and venture capital transactions.

Ian Simpson
Adviser
Bio
Ian Simpson
Ian Simpson

Ian Simpson
Adviser

Ian is an Adviser at ESO, having joined Core Capital as an adviser in 2017. Ian previously advised on the raising of both Core Capital I and Core Capital II. Ian was the founder and Managing Partner of placement agent Amala Partners. He spent the previous 15 years as a Director of Helix Associates, a placement agent, which he co-founded in 1993. Over the course of almost 30 years in the industry, he has advised and raised capital for a broad range of private equity firms in both Europe and the US.

Lauren Grindle
Executive PA
Bio
Lauren Grindle
Lauren Grindle

Lauren Grindle
Executive PA

Lauren is responsible for the day to day running of the office, as well as being PA to the team. Prior to ESO, Lauren was Executive PA at Core Capital.

Cara Brazier
Receptionist & PA to the COO
Bio
Cara Brazier
Cara Brazier

Cara Brazier
Receptionist & PA to the COO

Cara joined ESO in 2018 and is personal assistant to the COO.

Janica Sanders
Executive Assistant to the CEO
Bio
Janica Sanders
Janica Sanders

Janica Sanders
Executive Assistant to the CEO

Janica joined ESO in 2012 and is responsible for supporting the CEO in both a business and personal capacity.

Intended structure subject to FCA approval in respect of those individuals whose descriptions reference Core Capital.