Henri de Castries, the former chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AXA Group, has been appointed to the positions of chairman of Europe and special adviser at General Atlantic.
The industry vet comes to the global growth equity firm with a breadth of experience lading one of Europe’s most prominent financial institutions. “Henri’s wealth of experience as a global business leader will be an important and valuable addition to both General Atlantic and our global portfolio companies,” said General Atlantic’s CEO Bill Ford. The US equity investment firm currently maintains about $20 billion in assets under management and operates out of 11 offices across 8 countries.
De Castries currently sits on the board of directors at companies including UK-based banking leader HSBC and international food and beverage behemoth Nestle. He left AXA, Europe’s second largest insurer, in September 2016 after 17 years at the helm. During his 27-year tenure at AXA, de Castries oversaw handfuls of merger and acquisition transactions, including AXA’s purchase of Group UAP in 1997 and Winterthur Group in 2007.
In this year’s heated French presidential election, the executive backed the losing candidate, Francois Fillon. Prior to leading AXA, de Castries worked as a civil servant. He graduated from France’s elite ENA administrative school and the HEC Paris business school.
“There is a rich tradition of innovation in Europe, and the region is an incubator for many world-class companies across a range of sectors. Henri’s strategic and operational counsel will be an asset as we continue to identify and partner with the most promising growth-stage companies across the region,” said Gabriel Caillaux, Managing Director and Co-Head of EMEA for General Atlantic.