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Wol Kolade

Wol Kolade

Managing Partner, Livingbridge
United Kingdom

“I am utterly fascinated by the world of business and PE gives me the privilege of being able to interact with some of the UK’s best and brightest business people.”

My job is to lead the Livingbridge team. My workload is varied – from meeting management teams of prospective new investments or visiting existing portfolio companies to explaining “why Livingbridge?” to potential new investors. In 2007/8, I was Chair of the private equity industry association (“the BVCA”). It was a difficult time for the industry but I learnt a whole bunch of new skills and met some very interesting people. Private equity doesn’t operate in a vacuum and despite stepping down from the BVCA in 2010, I still find myself explaining to government, the media and other stakeholders that the work we do with entrepreneurial companies is hugely beneficial to the wider economy.

I am a Kings College London engineering graduate and I have an MBA from Exeter University Business School. I started my career with Barclays in 1990 and after a short period in various head office roles I joined a predecessor firm of Livingbridge in 1993. I remember learning about ‘venture capital’ as it was called back then in an economics class at my secondary school and from then on it was very clear to me what I wanted to do.

I have a deep interest in healthcare and education, and have been a member of board of a number of schools and universities. I was previously Chair of the Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation, a 500-year-old charitable foundation with total assets of £1bn. In March 2022, I joined the board of NHS England as Deputy Chair, after becoming a Non Executive Director of NHS Improvement in 2018. I am a co-founder of the 10,000 Black Interns Initiative and a Trustee of Somerset House Trust. I also sit on the advisory boards of Level20, Acorn Capital and the Prudence Trust.

I was appointed an Emeritus Governor of the London School of Economics in 2017 and I received an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter in 2014. In June 2021, I was awarded a CBE for services to Financial Services in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and in September 2021, I became the 25th inductee into the “Private Equity Hall of Fame” at the Real Deals Private Equity Awards.

I have a big family and love company, so most weekends we are either entertaining or being entertained. I am also a bit of a movie buff.