New Beginnings with NCA Entrepreneur Fryderyk Rdułtowski

26 Mar 2024 | News

Entrepreneur Fryderyk (Fred) Rdułtowski closed his deal in late December 2023 when he successfully acquired Adex Cosmetics & Pharma. We sat down with Fred to learn about why he decided to pursue ETA and how his closing helped solve a succession challenge for a founder-run company in Poland.


Fred Rdułtowski was born in Poland, Warsaw, grew up and received his early education in the UK, and quickly embarked on a career spanning a wide array of roles in finance. “The first half of my career covered the entire spectrum, from advisory roles and M&A to investing directly in private equity,” explained Fred. When Fred and his wife moved to Luxembourg in 2008, Fred’s career began to shift, as he took on roles co-managing and managing several companies.

During that time, Fred worked in an eclectic variety of sectors, ranging from services and internet-based businesses to manufacturing, and he came to a few important realizations: “After many years of being in different financial services, and then in sectors which had no tangible product, I realized I really appreciate tangible products that I can see and touch,” he said. 

Fred also realized he was extremely interested in the immense growth potential of small and midsize companies. “In the space of scaling up smaller companies, there's a tremendous and very deep potential for improvements. Usually these companies - especially ones associated with ‘the old economy’ - have a family base and have been around for quite a long time. When one starts digging into this and scratching the surface, one realizes the enormous potential for growth, expansion and improvement.”

Fred worked as CFO with four different small to medium-sized companies, growing each of them considerably, and in 2019 he decided to pursue an Executive MBA at Harvard Business School. “That's when the idea to pursue entrepreneurship through acquisition really came to the surface,” Fred reflected. “Having spent many years supporting other CEOs, and holding CFO roles, it felt like a natural next step to become the CEO. And having gone through my MBA, it was time to make the conscious decision to move away from being managed by somebody and lean into the fact that I was ready to manage myself.”

Fred initially launched his own search fund and found first time fundraising challenging, despite having decades of experience in finance. He decided to join NCA’s ETA program in 2021, launching his sector agnostic search with a focus on Polish light and product-centric manufacturing industries.


With over 24 years of deep professional experience in both finance and in scaling small to midsize businesses, Fred found himself on the more experienced end of the spectrum when compared to many other searchers. “From a day to day perspective, I used to be an investment banker so I felt confident running much of this process on my own. But NCA was incredibly helpful at all the right times, which I really appreciated because it helped me tremendously” he added.

In December 2023, he successfully closed his deal to acquire Adex Cosmetics & Pharma: a Polish contract manufacturing business that produces various cosmetics and perfumes through contract manufacturing, in addition to developing proprietary cosmetic and perfumery products from scratch.

This acquisition presented some challenges as Adex Cosmetics & Pharma was not initially prepared for the sale. “This was a very classical succession story, probably as classical as it gets,” said Fred. “When I was introduced to the seller for the first time, he wasn't yet sure that he wanted to pass the company on and didn't have the right candidate at the time. So, after our first few meetings it took a couple months before he came back to me and said he was ready to go through with the experience and embark on this journey.”

After signing the letter of intent in 2022, Fred collaborated very closely with the former owner for over a year and a half to help define and carry out the sales process. Every detail needed to be discussed and negotiated. “While it was a lengthy process, I was - and still am - convinced this is a great platform to grow with as we move into the future,” Fred explained. “The seller and I developed a very close personal relationship, which really became the foundation behind the success of this deal. We built a lot of trust, which helped him see that I was the right candidate to manage the company moving forward.”

“For him, this has been a very emotional matter,” said Fred. “Even on the first day when he introduced me to the team and everybody on the production floor, it was a very powerful moment, and I hadn’t actually realized how emotional it would be. It was essentially his entire life.”

“I have a whole new respect for CEOs in this position,” Fred added. “This is when you realize how much responsibility you carry, not only for the future of the company, but also for all the employees and - at the end of the day - their families as well. That’s when you understand how important this job really is. You have to be careful and weigh all of the risks. I want to ensure the best for the company and its people, so I’m approaching every decision cautiously with a focus on balance as we move into this next phase of growth. Adex is a wonderful company to work with and I’m absolutely ecstatic to find myself in this position.” 

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