“Our future depends above all on our ability to attract and retain extremely talented people, both as employees within Ardian and as managers in our portfolio companies“
When you reach the age of 20 you feel ready to spread your wings. This is the spirit of Ardian today. We have left the home where we started life, we have reached maturity and seized our independence. Today Ardian is a major international player with $60bn under management, 450 employees and over 140 portfolio companies.
I am proud of what we have accomplished together in our first 20 years – it has been an entrepreneurial journey because we have always had a strong culture of customer service. From the beginning, we raised twice as much money from outside clients as we received from AXA, our former mother house, and that instilled in everyone the understanding that unless we give our clients an excellent service in every respect – not just investment performance – we would not succeed. Like any ambitious 20-year-old however, we are only looking forward. We believe the best is yet to come. We are currently building two new pillars from the ground up – Real Estate and North American Direct Buyouts – which will be critical for the next phase of our growth.
Real Estate is a huge, global asset class that we see becoming a significant part of our business in the coming years. And as we increase the range of assets we invest in, we look to North America as the next territory in which we will expand. Ardian is now a very significant and established player in Europe and we are aiming for the same success on the other side of the Atlantic. However, we have a core belief that we do not chase growth at any price. When it comes to growing and nurturing our new activity, we take our time. We are careful. It’s vital for us to identify people and businesses who not only have deep local connections in a target market, but who understand our distinctive culture and share our ambition to build substantial new businesses over decades. It says a lot about Ardian’s strength and stature today that we can pursue two big strategic projects, while simultaneously staying focused on our established businesses, which continue to perform very strongly.
Ardian sets itself ambitious targets for a very simple reason: the people who create our success are ambitious. Our future depends above all on our ability to attract and retain extremely talented people, both as employees within Ardian and as managers in our portfolio companies. I have always believed that we must offer talented people a compelling vision of the future if we want them to commit themselves to Ardian. It is because we believe so strongly in the value of talent that we will carry on aiming higher and seeking new challenges.
Our urge to go further and faster will always be guided by our experience. We will continue to build our business cautiously and steadily, reinforcing and sharing our culture, focusing on high-quality people, high-quality managers and high-quality assets. But we will not sit still – show me a 20-year-old that does not want to forge ahead.