Sony Ericsson turnround star joins Silver Lake
Miles Flint, the man credited with turning round Sony Ericsson, said he was joining Silver Lake, the technology private equity investor, showing that the credit squeeze has failed to dissuade top managers from joining buy-out firms, the FT reported.
Before his surprise decision to quit as Sony Ericsson's president last September, Mr Flint won praise for transforming the world's fourth-largest mobile phone maker from a struggling brand to a leader in music and camera phone technology.
At Silver Lake he will become a senior adviser to the leading private equity investor in technology, which owns stakes in some of the world's leading high-tech companies, including SunGuard, the software group, and NXP, the chipmaker.
He joins a star-studded group of advisers at Silver Lake, including Nikesh Arora, president of Google's Europe, Middle East and Africa operations; George Kadifa, former vice-president of global delivery at IBM Technology Services; and Kurt Lauk, former director of Daimler-Chrysler.
In Mr Flint's three-and-a-half years at Sony Ericsson it more than doubled sales, tripled profits and leapfrogged LG of South Korea to move from to number four in the global handset market.
By tapping into Sony's Walkman music and Cyber-shot camera brands, he was credited with a series of bold decisions that managed to create a range of popular high-end handsets, and substantially lift profitability.
He was also characterised as a "perfect diplomat" who managed to keep the peace between Sony of Japan and Ericsson of Sweden, two potentially difficult parent companies with very different outlooks.
Silver Lake recently sold a 9.9 per cent stake to Calpers, the large California state pension fund, reportedly locking in a valuation of nearly $3bn.
The private equity firm more than doubled investors' money in its $2.3bn debut fund raised in 1999 and generated an annual return of 20 per cent on the $3.6bn it raised in 2004. It is rumoured to be seeking $10bn from investors for its latest fund.
Mr Flint's move to Silver Lake follows a well-worn path of top managers to join private equity firms.