In conversation with Laura Muries
Partner, PAI Partners

22.03.2021

Please describe your current role

I´m a Partner of PAI Partners, where I have spent the last 14 years of my career. At present, I´m in charge of the investments of the firm in Iberia. My role encompasses all aspects of the investment cycle – from origination and deal execution, to managing our investment through to exit – with no sector specialization. I have served in Boards of companies in retail, healthcare and business services and have looked at many opportunities in consumer as well, since it is one of the core sectors of PAI.

How did you get started in private equity and what was the career path to your current role?

I started my career in investment banking at Merrill Lynch, where I had the opportunity to advise some PEs in different transactions. It was from that experience where I started to better understand what PE was about and decided that I wanted to develop my career here. I joined PAI in 2007 working as an Investment Officer in our Investment Group in Paris, which is a centralized team of execution specialists. In 2011 I was promoted to Investment Director and relocated to Madrid, where I started to be more involved in sourcing and origination, on top of execution and portfolio. In 2015 I was promoted to Principal and then to Partner in 2019.

What attracted you to the industry?

What attracted me most from the industry was the in-depth involvement, accountability and impact that you have on the deals you work on (in banking I missed the lack of involvement post deal), the increased level of autonomy of the job (where I truly believe that you can organize your day much better than working for a services firm) and the different facets of the job where you need to have a good balanced mix of commercial, analytical and technical skills, and where generating trust is at the core of what we do!

What advice would you give women considering a career in private equity or to younger women already in the industry?

I would strongly recommend women to consider a career in private equity. I think it is a very fulfilling and rewarding job where you have much more flexibility and autonomy than perceived from the outside, which is key for raising kids, etc, and where you will never get bored since every situation you look at is totally different from the next!

In addition, this business is mainly about (i) people (managing people, which is the key asset of PE funds, and generating trust in front of managers and founders) and (ii) taking decisions, two aspects where I think strong women can exceed.

And I would strongly motivate young women starting in our industry to not give up and be persistent and resilient…since this job is even more fulfilling the more you grow within the organization and the more things you see!

What have been some of the key challenges you’ve faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

Clearly, as in most other demanding jobs, maternity is a challenge but I think this industry gives you much more flexibility and autonomy than others to get organized – deadlines are usually larger than in services companies (consulting, banking, etc) and on top of that you are the one organizing such deadlines!

Also, there can still be some barriers in certain segments of the population we usually deal with (CEOs of Companies, etc) that may have historically not taken women, and particularly young women, as seriously as men but I think this is gratefully changing very quickly now!

Who has most inspired you in your career / who have been your mentors?

My mentor has been my former boss, Federico Conchillo, with whom I spent 15 years working hand by hand. He taught me everything about private equity, was the best example to learn how to understand a business in-depth and how to build relationships and, most importantly, he was very inspirational in life in general – somebody that always put values and ethics first and really cares about the people!