George Pennock Partner
After a few years in the Goldman Sachs M&A team in London, I decided that working at the coal face as a principal investor was where I really wanted to be.
I moved to Botts & Company, a private equity investment firm which was busy seed funding market-transforming brands such as Malmaison hotels and Cine-UK. At Botts, I learned to invest the old-fashioned way, whereby everyone around the table is expected to put their hands in their pockets and put their money where their mouth is.
I have spent the past two decades working with a myriad of talented and unconventional entrepreneurs, investing in everything from online employee benefits platforms to riverboats, to book publishers. Along the way, I have learned that while a mediocre management team can ruin even a great plan, a great management team can make a success of almost any business opportunity.
For me, investing is about rolling up your sleeves and backing exceptional people and interesting businesses, for the long term.
Gordon Husbands Partner
Growing up in the 1970s, when space exploration was at its peak, it was probably unsurprising that I should start my working life in the Advanced Missile Division of British Aerospace Dynamics. What better foundation from which to transition into sales and marketing, first in industrial automation systems and later into mainstream computer systems with what is now Hewlett Packard. I was soon managing business across borders and time zones and even lead early forays into what was then the Soviet Bloc.
Finding corporate life in the 1990s increasingly constrictive I moved into consulting in the Telecoms, Media and Technology sectors setting up my own company. As a result of this, I also joined the board of an international marketing company and lead their expansion into Europe and the US.
After over 30 years working on the front line with companies large and small across the globe, I enjoy working with other entrepreneurs, learning new stuff and applying my hard earned business skills to new ventures. If there is one thing I have learned since we started Four Seasons is that with the right approach you can not only teach an old dog new tricks, but not so old ones too, and derive a great deal of personal satisfaction along the way.
John Maddox Investment Manager
Prior to joining Four Seasons Ventures, my career was exclusively spent in the business turnaround and corporate recovery market, where I also trained to become a Chartered Certified Accountant.
In 2012, I started with the London office of Zolfo Cooper Europe before transitioning to AlixPartners following its acquisition of the business in 2015. The combination of my experiences at these two leading business advisory firms has provided me with a solid foundation in business reviews, financial and operational restructuring, strategic options analysis, contingency planning and insolvency.
Importantly, my time with AlixPartners provided me with ever-increasing opportunities to work with companies where there was clear potential to restore performance and create value. Having gained a good insight into what can drive success and failure in business, I wanted an opportunity to apply this knowledge directly to companies looking to grow and develop. As I have always enjoyed working closely with the management teams of companies in my turnaround and recovery role, the chance to join Four Seasons Ventures seemed to offer an ideal combination of these two elements.
I am looking forward to working with the longer time horizons that our investments generally involve but my approach and working relationship with management teams will remain hands-on, commercial and pragmatic. It is my belief that a strong working relationship between stakeholders can go a long way in driving growth and value creation, no matter what the business undertakes and sells.
Aleksei Bazhenov Partner
With an academic background in banking, finance and credit I went on to spend fourteen years as finance director of a multinational business that built pipelines and compressor stations. Managing large scale, multi-billion-dollar pipeline construction projects from design to delivery in a very challenging environment taught me the importance of managing every aspect of investment and to always expect the unexpected.
More recently, I have applied this same approach to other sectors. Over the past decade, I have focused on making selective investments in European based businesses, where I believe there is the potential for significant long-term growth. I have also built a global network of investment partners who can assist in achieving my goals. I was an early investor in a private aviation group, which in a few years has grown to become one of the leading global players. My equity partners include European family offices and more recently a Chinese private investor group.
Some years ago, my family decided to make its home permanently in the UK. We continue to enjoy immensely all that this country has to offer, both in terms of lifestyle and culture, and the positive business environment. I have recently completed an MBA at Imperial College, London and now spend my time identifying new investment opportunities and making use of my network to help them realise their full potential.