Duncan Owen, Board Mentor, Criticaleye

Duncan Owen

Board Mentor


Duncan is a seasoned private equity entrepreneur with a chartered accountancy and engineering background. He had an international career at Unilever and CDC Group, with extensive commercial and general management experience in UK, Europe, Central America and Africa.
He has worked and lived throughout Africa for over 20 years. His final role in Unilever was as MD of Zambia, turning around an acquisition in a challenging environment. Since leaving Unilever, Duncan worked at CDC, where he was responsible for managing and subsequently disposing of a large portfolio of companies in Africa.
In 2005, he founded Phatisa as a start-up Private Equity fund manager, focusing on “feeding and housing Africa”. Investors include DFI’s (including CDC, OPIC [USA], FMO, Proparco) and various commercial investors. Phatisa now has in excess of US$ 400m under management, investing in 20 countries, and has five offices.
He has been directly responsible for in excess of 50 change of control transactions and has sat on numerous boards of funds, fund managers, SPVs and multinational and country operating companies. He is currently on two active investment committees. He spent in excess of five years in Unilever Internal Audit in various countries. When completing CA training in Edinburgh, he was responsible for the statutory audit of a number of Scottish investment trusts.
Duncan launched and managed several impact initiatives, including investment for impact thought leadership, a charitable foundation and carbon neutral projects. He champions living wage policies, diversity and environmental initiatives in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Having stepped down from his executive duties in Phatisa, Duncan has returned home to the Scottish Borders and is looking to take on a limited number of non-executive directorships.

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