Editorial Assignments: Businessweek : A private equity player cashes out, then heads for Brazil to grow (money on) trees.
When Harald Orneberg sold his private equity fund, ORN Capital, to British insurance giant Aviva in 2006, he became an indentured servant of sorts. As part of the deal, Orneberg was contracted to work for Aviva for a year, which turned out to be the longest year of his life. “Working for a large company,” he says, “was like wading in molasses.”
After fulfilling his contractual obligations, Orneberg, 47, decided to return to the business he had grown up around as a boy in Sweden : forestry. It was a decision facilitated by the rise of the Chinese paper industry, which was boosting pulp prices. Much more important, it was a fi eld that had nothing to do with
his previous career. “The rate of tree growing is independent of the fi nancial markets,” he says. “The tree doesn’t know what is written in The Wall Street Journal. It doesn’t even know that one day it may become The Wall Street Journal.”