Apax appoints Goldmans lawyer as first-ever general counsel

Apax Partners has concluded its 20-month search for a general counsel with the appointment of Simon Cresswell from Goldman Sachs.

Cresswell is understood to have been a senior in-house counsel in the principle investing area (PIA) at the US bank, a unit that invests in assets off Goldmans’ own balance sheet.

A City private equity partner who has worked with Apax in the past told The Lawyer that the private equity house had faced a decision over whether to hire someone at the junior or senior end of the market for its own in-house position.

The partner said: “I think that Apax haven’t been sure which way to jump but they’ve obviously decided to go the senior route.”

The move follows Bridgepoint Capital’s hire of Travers Smith partner Charles Barter as its general counsel in 2008. The trend of hiring in-house counsel has continued in the private equity space with Bain Capital also currently on the hunt for a European general counsel.

Apax advisers in recent years have included Ashurst, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Kirkland & Ellis and SJ Berwin.

It is understood that Cresswell will take up his new role in February.