eBay’s former Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan joined General Atlantic as an operating partner. He will work with the company’s investment team in the Internet and technology sector. The growth equity firm has among the clients in its portfolio tech darlings Uber, Airbnb, and Gilt Group.
Swan will be part of the firm’s Resources Group and will be based in its Palo Alto, California office. He will also lead General Atlantic’s efforts in supporting global portfolio companies as they grow through strategic mergers and acquisitions and develop their finance functions.
Equity firms provide capital to their client companies, and in the case of General Atlantic, strategic support as well. What’s the difference between an equity firm and a venture capital firm? Here’s an explanation from a Forbes contributor that might be helpful.
“Private equity is usually about taking an existing company with existing products and existing cash flows, then restructuring that company to optimize its financial performance. When private equity works right, it can save poorly-performing companies from bankruptcy and turn them into profitable enterprises,” explains entrepreneur and investor Victor W. Hwang. “The venture capital process is usually much messier. Often, you start with a ragtag guerilla outfit, with no obvious path forward.”
Bob Swan joined eBay in 2006 and left in July after the breakup with PayPal; he remains on the Board of Directors of eBay.