Future Leader: Diana Moraru, Principal at Clayton Dubilier & Rice
“We have the opportunity to shape businesses, strengthen their operations and competitive positions through the transactions we do.
Diana Moraru is a Principal at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, focusing on the Consumer and Retail sector in Europe. When she joined the Private Equity industry at just 22, she had the opportunity to work with senior leadership and management teams on large multi-billion euro transactions– and has never looked back.
What’s it like working in Private Equity right now?
It’s an exciting job and there are a lot of investment opportunities, especially in a post-Covid environment. The type of transactions and companies we look at is varied – from minority investments to more complex partnership transactions, where we invest alongside the seller, or synergistic acquisitions within our existing portfolio. I believe it is an interesting time to be in the private equity industry.
What attracted you to the sector?
After graduating from London School of Economics, I started working at Goldman Sachs in the investment banking division. From an early stage, I knew I wanted to be an investor. I enjoy assessing businesses and opportunities, seeing where and how we can add value. Private Equity, and I believe specifically CD&R, has this good balance between being operational, business and investment-focused. During our ownership, we have the opportunity to shape businesses, strengthen their operations and competitive positions through the transactions we do. That’s exciting.
Was Private Equity different to what you expected?
Looking from the outside in, you may underestimate the experience you can get as a young private equity investor. At the age of 22, in the first month I joined as an Associate at CD&R, I had the opportunity to go to the first board meeting of a multi-billion euro company. Interacting with the management team and learning the business from the inside was one of the most interesting experiences and an incredibly valuable learning opportunity in my career.
Did you have any role models you aspired to, or who inspired you?
Throughout my career, at Goldman Sachs and CD&R, I have had several role models. They have provided me with a great learning experience, allowed me to sometimes fail, but come out stronger, and to grow within the firm. It is these learnings that I now try to pass on to our analysts and associates.
As you become a mentor, what wisdom will you pass on to women entering the PE world?
I believe that part of our job, as mentors, is explaining what the roles, responsibilities and opportunities are in the Private Equity industry. I believe it is important to educate women on these topics, because these efforts will drive more women towards long term careers in the industry. It is also important to candidly discuss some of the challenges we face, such as balancing our careers and personal lives. The industry has evolved a lot in terms of the openness and proactiveness around these topics, and women investors are driving the conversation.
How important is networking and meeting like-minded people?
Even as an Associate seven years ago, I started participating in a number of Level 20 networking events. It gave me a unique opportunity to interact with other senior members in the Private Equity industry, from Principals to Partners, who have experienced a similar career path. The biggest benefit is having real examples of women who have made it work – and getting their feedback on how to do it in your own life. Our industry has made a massive effort in terms of improving the inclusion of women and people from diverse backgrounds in our teams, and Level 20 has played a big role in that. There are so many positives, from firm culture to investment performance, to be gained from bringing diversity into a firm.