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Lance Whitehead
Founder and Chief Executive


Following a career as an officer in the Royal Air Force Regiment, Lance joined Banque Indosuez in Bahrain in 1995, placing private equity and venture funds across the Middle East. On return to UK, he worked with Merrill Lynch, Coutts & Co, Citibank, and Dresdner Kleinwort Capital. Additionally for 7 years, concurrent with his Cygnus activities, he was responsible for the European and Gulf Region business interests of Landmark Partners, the leading private equity secondary manager. 

Since 1995, Lance has raised over €3 bn for a variety of private equity, venture capital, real estate and hedge fund managers, and for direct investments. He has worked in the European private equity markets continuously since 2000 and continues to lead Cygnus Capital's activities in the Gulf Region. 

Lance has a marketing-oriented MBA from Henley Management College and he speaks reasonable Arabic and some German and French.


Sandra Stohler
Managing Director

Sandra’s career began with Swissair, where she worked to fund her law studies at the University of Zurich, in Switzerland. After qualifying, she worked for Swiss and US law firms, and at the United Nations in New York. For 4 years, Sandra worked for Berndtson, and Paul & Ray, in the international executive search business before joining UBS Wealth Management where she was responsible for clients on the West Coast of the USA. In 2009, she joined Jesup & Lamont in San Francisco to focus on business development and marketing activities. 

On return to Zurich Sandra was appointed as Managing Director at Palomar Private Equity Ltd, a private equity placement agent, where she was responsible for originating and negotiating new placement mandates, project management, and fundraising in Switzerland, France, Benelux and UK. Whilst at Palomar, Sandra developed close relationships with a wide range of private equity investors and fund managers.

Sandra is fluent in German, French and English. She also speaks reasonable Spanish and Italian


John Donachie
Compliance Director

John Donachie is an experienced compliance adviser and MLRO specialist. He has advised hedge funds, institutional brokerages, private equity and wealth management groups on a range of compliance and regulatory issues. He has also worked as a compliance officer for major German, Japanese and Swiss Banks. 

John was an authorisation officer and surveillance inspector at the Securities and Futures Authority (now FSA). Prior to this, he worked in Eurobond and Equity Derivative sales with UBS, Bankers Trust, Toronto Dominion and JP Morgan.