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In London, Ekko wants to show that Brazil is the best for surfing the wave of the energy transition


A recently created consultancy by the former CFO of JHSF and former VP of BHP gathered 120 investors at an event to discuss opportunities in the country.

To dispel clouds of uncertainty still lingering among foreign investors, the recently established Ekko Partners, along with G5 Partners, Prospectiva, and the law firms BMA Advogados and Clyde&Co, introduced Brazil to 120 investors in London last Tuesday, 5th.

The event, which featured the participation of Marco Longhi, a member of the English parliament and trade envoy to Brazil, was a kind of official debut for the consultancy created by the former CFO of JHSF, a former VP of BHP, and a consultant specializing in leadership and human resources — a blend that the partners believe to be the significant differentiator in an environment where names like Alvarez&Marsal and Galeazzi have already been reigning for some years.

Among the opportunities for foreigners, Ekko wants to show that Brazil did its homework before the rest of the world on fiscal and monetary policy issues and is well-positioned for gaps that have opened up, such as the restructuring of global supply chains and the energy transition.

Brazil is very well positioned to eventually start producing things currently produced in Southeast Asia. And it is also the country best positioned to surf the wave of energy transition.

Nilson Exel

Founding Partner of Ekko Partners

Of the demand that the consultancy has received, around 70% is for “organizing the house.” “It is to do the preliminary work to prepare the asset for a growth phase that will come. And Brazil is well positioned in this macroeconomic scenario”, argues Exel. Still taking its first steps, the consultancy already has five clients, ranging from assets undergoing restructuring to strategic mergers and acquisitions and even businesses that want to organize themselves to grow and, later on, go public. “It is very likely that 2024, especially the second half, will be a period of intensive growth,” adds Exel.

With over 40 M&A transactions on his resume and decades of experience in finance, Exel served as the CFO of JHSF until July. Before that, he also worked at Raízen and Paranapanema. At the copper smelting and refining company, he met Ivan Apsan, his other partner.

The Bahian lawyer led the company’s legal department amid its recovery process and debt renegotiation. More recently, as the legal and institutional relations director of the Anglo-Australian BHP, Apsan led the management of one of the most significant corporate crises ever to occur in Brazil: the rupture of the Samarco dam in Mariana, Minas Gerais, and its consequences.

In addition to Exel’s financial expertise and Apsan’s legal and compliance background, Ekko was born with the people management and leadership expertise of the American Khoury Ashooh, who completes the trio leading the consultancy. With a global trajectory, he was an associate at the headhunting company Heidrick & Struggles and served on the board of directors of Antofagasta Minerals in Chile. Among the participants at the London event, the majority had some level of exposure to the country. This was one of the opportunities recognized by Ekko’s partners.

These funds need to have a local presence and need an outpost in Brazil to be involved in day-to-day business.

Ivan Apsan

Founding Partner of Ekko Partners

The former VP of BHP is based in London, Exel is in Brazil, and Ashooh is in Chile, which the partners also see as a channel for operations throughout Latin America.

Published on September 6, 2023, at 12:52 PM by Raquel Brandão.