General Atlantic hires ex-AXA boss Henri de Castries

France's biggest insurer Axa outgoing Chief Executive Officer Henri de Castries poses during a news conference at their Paris headquarters, France, March 21, 2016. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - General Atlantic, a U.S. equity investment firm with around $20 billion in assets under management, has hired former AXA AXAF.PA head Henri de Castries to help advise it on possible European investment opportunities.

General Atlantic said in a statement on Monday that de Castries, who is also on the boards of British bank HSBC HSBA.L0005.HK and food company Nestle NESN.S, would be joining the company as a special advisor and chairman of its European arm.

“With a distinguished career leading one of Europe’s most prominent financial institutions, Henri’s wealth of experience as a global business leader will be an important and valuable addition to both General Atlantic and our global portfolio companies,” said General Atlantic chief executive Bill Ford.

De Castries left AXA in September 2016 after nearly 17 years at the top of Europe’s second-largest insurer. He had backed losing candidate Francois Fillon in this year’s French presidential election, won by Emmanuel Macron.

A graduate of France’s elite ENA administrative school and the HEC business school, de Castries was a civil servant before moving to Axa in 1989.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta