Carl Alan Mark Florman (born 2 November 1958) is a British businessman, entrepreneur and a pioneer in impact philanthropy and social justice. He is a co-founder and former CEO of the merchant banking group Maizels, Westerberg & Co.
Early life and education
Mark Florman was born in London to a Swedish father and an English mother. His father, Charles Florman, had come to London during World War II to establish the English office of the Swedish airline Aerotransport, which had been founded by Charles's father Carl Florman and uncle Adrian Florman in 1924 and was to become part of Scandinavian Airlines in 1948.
Florman joined The Northern Trust Bank, Chicago, where he co-founded the interest rate swap business in America and worked in corporate banking, US T-Bills and money & capital markets. From the mid-1980s as a Director of County Bank and then a Partner of Enskilda Securities he advised on corporate restructurings, M&A and equity capital markets. In 1991, he worked on the acquisition of Scandinavian Bank for Enskilda and co-founded SEB Capital Markets in the same year.
In 1992, Florman was co-founder and later CEO of Maizels, Westerberg & Co., which became a leading independent firm in M&A and corporate restructurings, advising on Scandinavia’s largest corporate rescue (Kooperativa Förbundet) and the largest corporate breakup in Europe (Procordia, creating Swedish Match and Pharmacia). MW & Co. pioneered Public Private Partnerships in the Nordic countries, advising state entities and governments. MW & Co. established advisory businesses in shipping and structured finance (e.g. Hambro Maizels Westerberg, with Hambros Bank) and in principal investing. The firm won a number of awards for its advisory work. MW& Co. was ranked No. 1 amongst independent European corporate finance houses by IFR in both 1998 and 1999.
In July 1999, he was named as one of London’s top 10 Rain Makers by the Sunday Business newspaper. Florman and the other partners sold MW & Co. in 2000 to create MNB Maizels and thereafter ArosMaizels (created from the merger of six investment banking entities across six countries) which became the largest investment banking group in the Nordic region.
From 2001-2008 he was Senior Principal with the European private equity firm Doughty Hanson. He served as Vice Chairman and later Chairman of LM Glasfiber for a number of years, the world's leading manufacturer of blades for wind turbines, expanding manufacturing into Asia, Europe and North America, becoming the market leader in China.
In 2009, Florman co-founded 8Miles, the African private equity firm with Bob Geldof and Kofi Annan. He has co-founded a number of businesses in the media, transport and publishing sectors, including the UK logistics business eCourier. He has also served as a member of the EASD (Belgium) and APCIMS (UK) Corporate Governance Committees, introducing four models of corporate governance - recommending proportional governance models according to company characteristic.
From January 2011 until April 2013, he was head of the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. where he has encouraged a new dialogue with regulators and politicians to see a substantial increase in the role of private equity and venture capital in driving economic growth in Europes economies . In 2012 an agreement was signed with the Government whereby UK’s venture capital industry is promoted worldwide . Florman has also been actively supporting the development of the venture industry in emerging markets. He has been an advocate of transparency and best practice in business for many years, recognising the role of business in contributing to social progress.
In early 2014 Mark Florman was appointed as a Senior Advisor at MCF Corporate Finance, a boutique investment bank focused on the German and Nordic markets, with offices in Hamburg, Helsinki and London.
On 20 March 2015, Mark Florman was announced to be appointed as the ordinary member of the BBC Trust and Trustee for England. The appointment was made by Her Majesty The Queen by Order in Council, on advice from Ministers at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) through the Prime Minister. Florman's term will begin 1 April 2015 and end on 31 March 2019.
On 9 September 2016, Mark Florman was appointed chairman of LPEQ, an industry body for listed private equity funds, which includes Electra, NB Alternatives,HG Capital and Oakley as members and was founded in 2006 to encourage investments into listed private equity
In January 2013, Florman warned against the UK's danger of imposing excessive or inappropriate financial regulation, saying the greatest threat was that of "being left behind". It is the banks and venture capitalists, he says, which can get the UK's small and medium sized companies, which he calls Britain's greatest wealth creators, investing and growing.
In an interview on 9 November 2014 with the Financial Times, Florman presented an theoretical option of creating of a UK sovereign wealth fund. The interview details his proposal of channeling existing resources from pension funds into potentially more socially useful purposes. The Financial Times point to the similarities between his purposal and London Mayor Boris Johnson's much talked about pain to merge UK public sector pension funds. The difference discussed in the article between the two proposals involved both private and public sector schemes as well as a percentage option for pension scheme managers and trustees.
During the November Financial Times interview, Florman was introduced as the UK's chairman of the B Corporation movement, a moment started in the US that stresses transparency and accountability in regards to the environmental and social impact of corporations. While there is no mention of the External Rate of Return (see below) in the most recent Financial Times article, Florman has previously publicly discussed similar ideological views in regards to the future of socially responsible business.
He was quoted in the article describing the tenets of B Corporation values as: “It covers detailed knowledge of your supply chain, for instance seeking out the existence of slavery within the chain, your treatment of people, waste, recycling, everything. It is still seen as a little bit green or fashionable or trendy, but you will take risk out of your business if you take care of your reputation. Twenty years ago you might have got away with it, but now if you make an error that has reputational consequences, it will travel like wildfire through social media.”
The Financial Times reported Flormam is currently awaiting the results of a bill he helped prepared aimed at addressing the large number of victims of modern slavery. Florman stated: “It will encourage companies to look for slavery in their supply chain. It is not a rule, it is a strong encouragement”.
The Guardian published a piece written by Mark Florman and fellow activist, TV Presenter June Sarpong. The Article detailed their long standing friendship and mutual admiration for each other. The article also detailed their opposite view in regards to politics and their mutual interests in activism and philanthropy.
In February 2017, Mark Florman wrote for Private Equity International explaining the benefits and necessity of assessing companies' social impact and how the External Rate of Return can play a vital role in achieving that.
Florman co-founded the Centre for Social Justice in 2004, the UK think tank regarding social justice and poverty. He also founded Build a School, in Africa, in August 2002, completing the building so far of 115 primary schools across East Africa, becoming a pioneer in rural development, incorporating agricultural training and savings and loans models for parents of the school children. He is on the Board of the African IP Trust, and is involved in many initiatives to increase investment in Africa to the benefit of Africans. In May 2013, the African IP Trust highlighted the issue that the Maasai people have received no royalties from the use of the Maasai name by scores of manufacturers including Louis Vuitton. Mark Florman is an active campaigner for a better understanding of risk in Africa, and has spoken widely on the need for better information and improved governance from African governments.
He is a supporter of social venture capital and puts forward a general case that NGOs should operate in accordance with sound business principles, and must be able to demonstrate a clear investment case for everything they do. One of his main arguments has been that better decisions will be made when business, impact philanthropy and political policy co-operate. He Chairs the DNA Summit, a gathering of the world's leading innovators, to improve cooperation and to generate new ideas. He is life Ambassador to the Centre for Social Justice and helped establish the Early Intervention Foundation. He is on the board of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. He is an Ambassador of Build Africa.
He has initiated and been lead organiser for a number of campaigns including the Million Jobs Campaign for young people, the Movement against Modern-Day Slavery (via the CSJ) and was a member of the G8 Social Impact Investment Task-force created by the Prime Minister. In an article published 25 June 2013, Florman discussed his definition of the term External Rate of Return in regards to investments in housing where he "suggested businesses should report to funders the social value they create, such as how many jobs they create, through a mechanism called the external rate of return.
- Colin Narbrough (20 September 1993). "Volvo Gives Bank Venture a Lift" (PDF). The Times. London.
- Christian Mariott (1 August 1996). "Profile Maizels Westerberg" (PDF). Acquisitions Monthly. London.
- Charlie Welsh (7 February 2000). "MNBMaizels Shows Merger Strengths" (PDF). Financial News. London.
- Richard Northedge (20 June 1999). "Yassukovich Set to Join City Boutique" (PDF). Sunday Business. London.
- IFR Securities Data (1 August 1998). "Top Independent Corporate Finance Houses Advising on European Acquisitions" (PDF). Acquisitions Monthly. London.
- "1999 Annual Awards" (PDF). Acquisitions Monthly. London. 1 December 1999.
- "The Rain Makers" (PDF). Sunday Business. London. 4 July 1999.
- http://www.8miles.com/ 8 Miles
- http://www.bvca.co.uk/About-BVCA/features/Ourpeople2/ BVCA Our People
- http://www.acm-consult.com/our-services/acm-insight/acm-insight-magazine-editions/"ACM Insight Magazine Volume 3 Issue 3"
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9774427/Mark-Florman-We-have-to-stop-fighting-the-past-as-theres-a-bigger-threat-to-come.html "The Daily Telegraph 1 January 2013"
- http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/business/interview-mark-florman-of-the-british-private-equity-venture-capital-association-1-2721325"The Scotsman 7 January 2013"
- Hayman, Michael. "Investing for the common good". spectator.co.uk. The Spectator. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
- Florman, Marc. "Looking outside the box" (PDF). Private Equity International. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- http://www.build-africa.org/pages/about-us.html/ Build Africa, About Us
- http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22617001 BBC News - Why Nomads Might trademark their name
- Mark Florman (4 July 2009). "Focusing on Philanthropic Giving Misses the Point" (PDF). edalat. London.
- http://www.dnasummit.com/chairmans-message/ DNA Summit, Chairmans Message 26 July 2012
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 May 2014. Retrieved 2012-08-27. NAVCA 13 July 2012
- http://www.scc.org.uk/index.php?page=14&l=1/ Archived 14 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Swedish Chamber of Commerce Council Members
- "Build Africa - Patrons and Ambassadors". Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- http://www.unquote.com/uk/analysis/2278670/mark-florman-defines-err-awards-deadline-friday"Mark Florman Defines ERR, unquote.com 2 July 2013"
- http://www.insidehousing.co.uk/finance/landloards-should%20pool%20assets-to-raise-%C2%A330bn/6527472.article[permanent dead link]
- Financial Times 02/09/2010
- Daily Telegraph 03/09/2010
- Financial Times 19/11/2011
- InsideHousing.co.uk 25/06/2013[permanent dead link]
- The Florman Guide to Europe's Best Restaurants Publisher (The Florman's Guide Ltd, 2001) ISBN 0-9639626-0-4
- Trusting People, A Fair Deal for Everybody Mark Florman and Greg Clark (The Conservative Party, 2003) ISBN 0-9544917-5-0