60 Seconds With

“Our culture is also really important in attracting and retaining the best people” – 60 seconds with Peter Garvey, co-founder & partner, Melior Equity Partners

By Business & Finance
15 August 2023
Pictured: Peter Garvey, co-founder & partner, Melior Equity Partners

Peter Garvey is co-founder & partner at Melior Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on partnering with Irish business owners and management teams to develop world-class companies.

What was your first job?

I did all kinds of jobs to earn money while in school and in college. A couple of the more memorable ones were a summer making sandwiches and cleaning the toilets in Subway on South Anne Street, and another serving drinks to the line dancers in Break for the Border at the top of Grafton Street.

What pushed you to pursue a career in this field?

What we do at Melior Equity Partners is find high quality Irish businesses to invest in and then we work closely with their management teams to help them grow even faster.

Growing up I always loved numbers, looking at different businesses, negotiating deals (even with my parents on how much pocket money I got), and I tended to do well at subjects like accounting and economics.

Unfortunately, there was no private equity industry in Ireland when I started my career, so it wasn’t an option at the time. So, I did the basics of accounting, corporate finance and management consulting. Then I was approached by a former colleague to get into private equity with Goldman Sachs in London and the industry ended up being the perfect fit for me.

What would you regard as your greatest achievement to date?

We were very proud to be able to launch Melior Equity Partners in 2020 and to be trusted by a fantastic set of investors with €160 million to invest in businesses in Ireland.

Career wise, would you do anything differently?

Not really. There are definitely moments where looking back you wish you had done things differently or taken a different path. But everything is a learning experience that stands to you as you progress through your career, and I’m really delighted to be where I am with Melior Equity Partners today.

In one sentence, how would you define success?

Being able to look yourself in the mirror every morning and know that you did your best and that you always tried to do things the right way.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Always hold yourself accountable to the ‘front page of the Financial Times test’ – you should only do something if you would be happy for your mother to read about it on the front page of the newspaper the next day.

How do you motivate yourself and your staff?

Motivation comes pretty easily at Melior Equity Partners, as in private equity you live or die by the investment results you generate. Everyone in the team invests their own money in our fund so all our financial rewards are aligned to the performance of our business.

Our culture is also really important in attracting and retaining the best people, and we’ve spent a lot of time getting that right. While the team set high standards for themselves and work very hard, Melior is a place where we emphasise teamwork, people get responsibility early in their careers and we always try and remember to have fun along the way.

How do you handle adversity?

I’m a lot better than I used to be at keeping things in perspective. Most problems are not as bad as they first seem, and all problems can be worked out. I’m also really fortunate to have a business partner in Jonny Cosgrave who I’ve worked with for ten years, and I trust implicitly. We are a good team. We are experienced enough to understand that issues will arise all the time, and we work through things in an open and transparent way and come up with the best solution we can.

How do you relax?

Most of my free time is spent with family – I enjoy dinner with my wife or activities with our two girls. To clear my head, I love a run down by the seafront. I also coach the under 11 athletics group in Blackrock which is great for regaining perspective because they have absolutely no interest in whatever deal we might be working on that week!

What are your aspirations for the future of the business?

We have all worked in great companies like Carlyle, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, McKinsey through our careers and when we started Melior Equity Partners we set out to build a world class private equity firm operating in Ireland. To achieve that we need to continue to deliver outstanding returns for our investors, we need to retain and add to what we believe is the best team in the market, and importantly, we need to guard our reputation for doing the right thing and being a good partner to deal with.


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