elicious food and excellent wine may sound like a surefire way of winning a Parisian gentleman over, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that Laurence chose a top London sushi restaurant as the place to try and coax Jean Tardy-Joubert into joining Highland Europe.
Unfortunately, not everything went exactly to plan. The first course was delightful, but the second mediocre at best. By the time dessert was served, neither man had much of an appetite left. Luckily for Laurence, though, the misfired dinner didn’t sour professional relations, and after several more palatable meetings, Jean joined Highland as an advisory partner in 2018.
Jean brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and industry intel to the partnership. In 2009, he founded and subsequently ran tech-focused boutique investment bank Qatalyst’s European practice. Almost a decade on, Jean was ready for his next challenge.
“Laurence’s timing was impeccable, and the offer was quite alluring: starting off one or two days a week, free WiFi, a desk and very decent coffee on tap. What’s not to like?”
— Jean Tardy-Joubert, Advisory Partner
The collaboration between the two was built on a solid foundation. Laurence and Jean’s relationship went back almost two decades. In the late 1990s, when Jean had worked at Credit Suisse First Boston, Laurence had sat on the board of directors at Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR), since sold to Qualcomm for $2.5B.
CSR and Jean (middle) en-route for the IPO roadshow, 2004.
Although CSR was in its infancy at the time when Laurence worked there, Jean showed a great interest in the group. Him and Laurence bonded over their shared ambitions for growing the company and taking it public. Early on, Jean recognised the value of Laurence’s ability to give impressively candid advice in high-stakes situations and negotiate in a way that was consistently tough but always fair.
For his part, Laurence relished the opportunity to work with Jean back then in a way that he still does now. Laurence is particularly keen to underscore Jean’s entrepreneurial knack as an invaluable quality.
“Most bankers are not entrepreneurs and that’s what makes Jean special – he has all the attributes of banker, entrepreneur and investor. It’s a rare combination, so Highland is fortunate to have him.”