Max Connell – Chief Financial Officer
Max has nine years of experience, including five years in Big 4 Deal Advisory and four years leading the M&A team at the largest veterinary roll-up in ANZ. During his tenure, Max advised and lead over 100 acquisitions. Max joined the private equity backed veterinary roll-up in 2017 after previously advising on one of their platform acquisitions. He lead & scaled the roll-up’s M&A function, growing the portfolio from 32 sites to the largest veterinary roll-up in ANZ with 250 sites, including leading the $310m take-private of competitor NVC Ltd.
What interested you about Private Equity, and then Pemba more specifically?
Firstly, working with businesses beyond just financial aspects. Working with companies from a number of industries over the long-term to really understand & then accelerate the key ‘drivers’ of their success. Working with smart, motivated and passionate people. Working with founders to create meaningful transition plans and achieving more together than what would otherwise be possible alone. Pemba specifically attracted me because of their reputation for not being a ‘cookie-cutter’ Private Equity firm, who took the time to genuinely understand owners, respect their legacy and structure the deal around their needs, including the option of management buy-ins, which I am particularly passionate about.
If you didn’t work in Finance, what else could you see yourself doing?
The way the world is developing, I would say computer science might have been a great alternative career path, in particular specialising in AI and/or machine learning. I am excited by the possibilities that will be unlocked in the next 10-20 years by developments in this field.
Once all borders are open again, what would be your dream holiday?
My dream holiday would be a month in Italy. My to do list includes hiking the Cinque Terre, catching a gondola through Venice, touring Tuscan hill towns, seeing ancient Roman relics and touring Lake Como by Boat (and of course, eat as much fresh Italian pasta, wine and gelato as possible).
Who inspires you and why?
As cliché as this may be – Elon Musk. He has achieved the impossible, several times. Just to name a few of his achievements: Co-founding Paypal, Tesla, SolarCity, SpaceX, Starlink, Hyperloop, OpenAI, Neuralink. All of these businesses have benefited mankind immeasurably, and I am sure he will continue to do so.
What keeps you busy away from work?
When not at work, I am usually looking for new dog-friendly trails where I can take my 10 year old mini Foxie (called Chili). She, unlike most of us, has really enjoyed the COVID lockdowns!
Max’s book recommendation:
Down Under – Bill Bryson