IJInvestor Lifetime Achievement Award
When you look back over the years to the early days of Equitix, you can credit its meteoric rise to a handful of key players… but everyone agrees that central to that was Geoff Jackson.
To win a Lifetime Achievement award in any industry, you have to be a sector “household name”… and Geoff definitely ticks that box.
The independent panel of judges for IJInvestor Awards 2021 were of that mind with one saying: “Geoff transformed his very UK PPP focused business into a market leading one with continuing growth outside of the PPP sector and expansion outside of the UK.”
Geoff is a founding director of Equitix, that was established with the vision of becoming a leading infrastructure investor, developer and long-term manager of assets in the UK.
However, over the last 14 years with Geoff serving as chief executive, he has led the development of Equitix to become a leading brand in the core infrastructure market in the UK and – increasingly – internationally.
Since inception, more than £7 billion of infrastructure investment has been raised and deployed across some 300 diverse assets. In that time, the team has grown from 4 to more than 250, with a myriad of suppliers and partners working alongside.
Geoff has been instrumental in helping shape this market, as well as creating a lasting legacy in the building of Equitix, and helping to attract the next generation of talented people into this important market.
On the international front, Geoff led the growth of Equitix with the establishment of offices across Europe to expand investment and asset management opportunities, while always seeking to generate market-leading returns for investors and embody Equitix's values of “partnership, excellence and trust”.
Geoff was key to Equitix's success in 2020 – the judging period for these awards, though not so relevant for a lifetime achievement awards – which was a challenging year for many, but which saw Equitix go from strength to strength.
In this tough year, Equitix increased headcount and funds both raised and deployed, with Geoff forging ahead with continued investment into social infrastructure and renewable energy, including expansion into new sectors like smart meters and hydro-electricity.
Geoff is trustee of the Equitix Foundation, which was established to support charities connected to the communities that Equitix serves. Alongside the establishment of the Equitix Foundation, Geoff led on the partnership with Uptree, a charitable social venture that connects 16-20 year olds with Equitix to provide work experience and crucial exposure to those who wouldn't otherwise have access.
Of particular note, Geoff – along with the support of the Equitix board and the whole management team – set up the Equitix Diversity & Inclusion Committee to ensure the organisation promotes a diverse and inclusive culture.
Unconscious Bias Training has been undertaken by all staff and this has led to a renewed effort to focus on understanding different cultures and respect for others, as well as tangible outcomes in recruitment and promotion across the Equitix workplaces.
Geoff's distinct leadership and collaborative approach has brought about strong partnerships with stakeholders, investors and colleagues within the industry. This is reflected in the strength of testimonials from leading figures in the public sector, investors and legal advisors provided in the rationale for nomination section below.
A truly outstanding industry figure, Geoff well deserves this recognition with an IJInvestor Award for lifetime achievement… particularly given he is retiring in March.
Darryl Murphy, managing director and head of infrastructure, Aviva Investors
"Infrastructure investment is by definition a team activity but there are a few individuals who act to define the market. Geoff certainly represents such an individual. His tenure at Equitix over the past 14 years or so has seen a fund, which some may have said was late to the PPP investment world, actively lead over the years to become a major UK infrastructure investor. Today, Geoff heads a fund which has grown to sit alongside major international investors which has developed the hard way by raising billions of third-party capital from global institutional investors.
“Geoff as CEO has made a significant impact to the UK market, through the development of PPP assets, renewables and more widely economic infrastructure. Yet he has done this in his characteristic personal style of always being charming, engaging but insightful with a demonstrable track record in taking the business forward to lead the market.
“We have always valued Equitix as a close relationship and working partner and Geoff has always been available and willing to invest into the relationship. Even, as in all relationships, when we don't see eye to eye Geoff has been willing to engage and has been constructive in all discussions.
“It is also noticeable how Equitix has grown and flourished as an institution and developed the next generation of infrastructure investor individuals and I am sure that is in no small part of Geoff looking to leave a long-lasting legacy, to Equitix, the market and moreover UK infrastructure."
Jason Radford, global co-head of corporate, Ashurst
"Geoff, as one of the founders and CEO throughout the 14 years, is in very large part responsible for Equitix's success story. From his construction/development background with Bovis and Skanska, through to investments in major PPP projects with Skanska Infrastructure Developments to his time with Equitix, Geoff has been at the forefront of UK infrastructure. He has overseen the diversification of Equitix from PPP assets into power and renewables and wider economic infrastructure. He has helped to push boundaries both internally and externally in the wider market, with no better recent example than Equitix's involvement in the £2 billion take private of John Laing plc.
“I have admired Geoff's leadership style – he is calm, measured and insightful. He has never sought the limelight or external validation but has instead focused on the longer-term development of the Equitix brand and the associated vision and culture. His main skills have been in his ability to contextualize the role of infrastructure and energy in the wider economy and to commit his energies to the long-term success of the business. That commitment burns bright and the UK infrastructure market is the main beneficiary."