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Biography

Etienne de Villiers is non-exec director of Pi Capital.

He was non-executive chairman of Virgin Racing Formula One racing team until December 2010, when the team was sold to Marussia.

From 2005 to 2008 he was the Chairman and President of the ATP World Tour, the governing body of men’s global professional tennis. During his 3-year tenure he oversaw the most extensive change to the organisation since its inception in 1990. These changes saw $1 billion of new investment introduced to the ATP Tour, including: record-breaking levels of prize money for players; new tournaments; an enhanced calendar structure; unprecedented levels of promotional spend and a new brand identity, based on extensive consumer research designed to make the Tour more fan-friendly.

From 2005 to 2009 he was Chairman of BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s international commercial arm. In July 2009 BBC Worldwide announced revenues exceeding £1 billion for 2008/2009, compared with revenues of £680m in 05/06, with total income generated outside the UK increasing to over 50%, with 34% of revenues coming from businesses created in the previous five years. In 2007/08, BBC Worldwide achieved profits of £120m, almost three-fold the profit of 2004/05.

In March 2009, De Villers and his close friend Francois Pienaar led the marketing and promotion of the Indian Premier League cricket tour in South Africa, after security issues displaced the event from India. With a lead time of only 3 weeks (and following the last minute booking of 59 matches, 10,000 air tickets and 30,000 hotel rooms) the tour was successfully promoted to South African fans hitherto unfamiliar with the visiting Indian city-based teams. The event enjoyed enormous success as a global TV property. It injected $100m into the local economy and showcased South Arica’s readiness to host major sporting events. The Times of India newspaper called the event “a successful experiment in atypical globalization…where the West has to look to the East”. The IPL brand subsequently went on to become a multi-billion global sports franchise.

Etienne was a Founder & Senior Partner of Englefield Capital LLP (now Bregal Capital), the London-based mid market and private equity fund. He was an active general partner in their first fund (€700m); and a passive investor in their second (€1 billion).

Previously, Etienne was non-Executive Director of ITV plc; Video Networks (now part of Carphone Warehouse),  Pi Capital and Jetix, the Dutch-listed TV company.

He served as consultant for the Kirch Group on Formula One matters and was a board member of SLEC, the company that controlled the commercial rights to Formula One. He was on the board of Saracens, one of England’s professional premier rugby clubs.

From 1986-2000, Etienne served in a variety of senior executive capacities for The Walt Disney Company. He was President and Managing Director of Walt Disney International Europe, responsible for directing and coordinating all Disney’s activities in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He also served as President of Walt Disney Television International, responsible for international free and pay television including all production and broadcasting activities of The Walt Disney Company outside the U.S. He also was Managing Director of The Walt Disney Company Limited in the U.K.

When Etienne departed Disney, its international TV business, for which he was responsible, had a turnover of approximately $1 billion ( $600 m EBITDA) employing 1,400 people, having grown from six employees and revenues of $15 million when he joined.

Prior to Disney, Etienne was CEO of Satbel in Johannesburg, South Africa, a major conglomerate of 14 operating companies with interests in film and the entertainment industry. He also worked for three years for McKinsey & Company based in London.

Etienne was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa, and graduated from the University of Pretoria with a Civil Engineering degree. He received a Rhodes scholarship and read PPE at Oxford University. Etienne represented either or both Universities in golf, rugby and cricket.

Etienne and his wife, Anita, celebrated their 36th anniversary in July. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Etienne collects contemporary British figurative art. He enjoys movies, television, sports and music.