Roel van Ark
Can you introduce yourself in a few words? Your age, your family situation and the country you live in?
My name is Roel van Ark, and I am 30 years old. I grew up in the Netherlands and in Germany, and both of my parents are entrepreneurs. Besides the Netherlands and Germany, I’ve lived in the US (Wisconsin & D.C.), Australia, and the UK, and I now split my time between Brussels and Amsterdam.
Tell us about your career and how you joined Argos.
After my studies in the US and Australia (B.B.A. in Global business, Finance, and Economics), I started my career as an M&A strategy consultant with PwC Strategy in London. After 2½ years, I took a position as an investment analyst at Weight Partners Capital, a PE boutique focused on SME turnarounds in the UK consumer and healthcare sectors. There, I also spent time as an interim commercial director and interim CFO in a portfolio company. The portfolio-company perspective got me excited about Argos Wityu’s hands-on approach. When the call came with an offer to help Argos further develop their presence in the Dutch market, it was an easy decision and a great new challenge!
Is this the path you thought you would take when you started your studies?
Yes. My parents are entrepreneurs, and I have always had a passion for building business. Once I started learning more about finance and investment, it became clear that private equity investment was the right place for me. It is a place where I can help managers and entrepreneurs move their companies forward and where together we can build something great.
The world of private equity has changed a lot in recent years. What is your definition of PE? How do you see it?
Strategy, capital, and stewardship – private equity exists to enable managers and companies, through strategic support and capital to achieve their ambition and create long-term value. A critical, often overlooked part of private equity is our societal role in supporting a growing economy, creating jobs, driving the sustainability agenda, and acting as responsible investors of institutional funds (such as your own pension savings). In this way, we help safeguard retirement funds, insurance company resources, university endowments, and so on.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I have the best job in the world, because every day I learn about what gets other people out of bed in the morning, and why. I learn more about how the world works every day through the variety of my job, through interaction with impassioned managers and founders and through discussion with advisors who have deep expertise in their field. It’s truly exciting.
What encounter - or moment - stands out in your time at Argos?
Together with our team, plus Jeroen (CEO) and Chris (CFO) of Cohedron (a portfolio company divested in summer 2021), we completed eight add-on acquisitions, a refinancing, and a successful divestment in only six months – all during the pandemic. We all worked incredibly hard, and everyone was rowing in the same direction. To me, the collaboration and subsequent results are still a textbook example of what is possible when a team truly comes together.
You interact daily with managers. Is there an entrepreneur you admire in the market?
The beauty of our job is that we get to speak with a wide variety of managers and entrepreneurs. I admire self-made men and women with a vision, and this vision comes in many forms. That said, any person who takes the plunge to start something and become an entrepreneur is admirable, and there are lessons to be learnt from each of them.
Outside of your job, what are your passions or commitments?
I exercise and play a lot of sports – everything from fitness to climbing, parkour, cycling, surfing, and more. I also like to read, cook, make cocktails, and try new things, such as my recent interest in woodworking.
” Private Equity enables managers and companies to create long-term value by providing strategic support and capital. “
Do you have a special place that reflects who you are, that inspires you and contributes to your balance?
The ocean and its waves give me balance and allow me to reflect.
In another life, you would be... ?
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