Kewsong Lee’s decision to step down as Carlyle chief highlights the challenge private equity faces when transitioning from founders

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Hi. I’m Aaron Weinman. Kewsong Lee, Carlyle’s chief executive, will step down and leave the private-equity firm with immediate effect, months before the scheduled end of his five-year contract.

Lee — considered a Carlyle change agent — reshaped the investment giant, but struggled to lift its share price near peers like Blackstone, KKR, and Apollo.

Let’s dive in.


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Kewsong Lee, Carlyle Group

Courtesy of Carlyle Group

1. Kewsong Lee, Carlyle’s chief executive, has called time on his journey with the private-equity firm. Carlyle, which manages $376 billion in assets, named William Conway, a co-founder and former CEO of the firm, as interim chief executive until a replacement is found.

Under Lee’s leadership, Carlyle reduced the number of funds it managed, integrated its buyouts and growth-investing groups last year, placed a heavy emphasis on growing its capabilities in credit, and hired Mark Jenkins from the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to lead the credit platform.

Carlyle’s credit arm swelled to $143 billion last quarter, almost double the amount at the same time last year. It was the first time the credit division surpassed Carlyle’s private-equity arm.

Two of Carlyle’s senior dealmakers have also departed the firm. Jay Sammons, the head of consumer, media, and retail, left the company to start a new venture, while Ashley Evans, a partner in Carlyle’s tech, media and telecommunications group, left to join Francisco Partners, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Despite Lee’s efforts, Carlyle’s share price has lagged behind peers like KKR, Apollo, and Blackstone. His abrupt departure also highlights the difficulty some private-equity firms face when transitioning from their founders.

Conway and fellow co-founder David Rubenstein handed the reins of co-CEO to Lee and Glenn Youngkin. Carlyle lost Youngkin just a few years into his role after he pivoted to a career in public service — Youngkin became governor of Virginia in January — and now Lee is stepping down.

Apollo, too, has had to deal with the aftermath of its founder Leon Black’s association with now-deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein, while KKR transitioned away from co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts last October. Blackstone founder Stephen Schwarzman is still CEO, but he is highly likely to pass the baton to his trusted lieutenant, Chief Operating Officer Jon Gray, one day.


In other news:

A row of homes in suburban America

Home inventory in the 100 largest metros in the U.S. is now at its highest level since October 2020, promising more options for homebuyers.
bunnylady/Getty Images

2. Investors like Bain Capital and Redwood Trust plan to “revolutionize” how people tap into $28 trillion in home equity. Many folks who have seen their home values soar want to cash in on their equity.

3. Property firm Adler threw parties on the Côte d’Azur and yacht trips to impress finance folks. Wall Street banks pocketed healthy fees from Adler’s bond deals, but some of the funds they sold to are staring at losses, according to this writeup from Bloomberg.

4. Venture-capital firms like Lightspeed are raising funds at a record pace. Even with economic uncertainty, company layoffs, and a slow IPO market, VCs are on track to beat their fundraising highs of 2021.

5. Y Combinator’s head of admissions is looking at more than 10,000 startups for its next cohort. Stephanie Simon shares her advice for founders applying in a downturn.

6. BlackRock is opening a South Florida office, per the Wall Street Journal. The money manager’s head of fixed income and about 35 staff are expected to start working from a location in West Palm Beach next year.

7. Cox Enterprises will purchase digital-media company Axios for $525 million. Axios’ founders Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, and Roy Schwartz will continue to run the company.

8. US regulators are weighing new rules for regional banks, which could complicate merger plans. The Federal Reserve and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency are discussing whether regional lenders should hold more long-term debt that would help them absorb losses in a downturn, the Wall Street Journal reported.

9. Tom Brady bought a Bored Ape NFT for $430,000 in April. He’s lost at least $194,000 on it since then.

10. Jeff Bezos has amassed a $166 billion fortune since founding Amazon in 1994. From underground clocks to flying to the edge of space, here’s how he has spent that money.


Done deals:

  • Industrial products manufacturer J.M. Huber has agreed to buy the Biolchim Group from NB Renaissance, Chequers Capital, and the Biolchim Group management team. Jefferies is advising J.M. Huber.
  • Pfizer has agreed to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics for approximately $5.4 billion. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are advising Pfizer, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is legal counsel. JPMorgan and Centerview Partners are advising GBT, while Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Goodwin Procter are legal advisors.

Curated by Aaron Weinman in New York. Tips? Email [email protected] or tweet @aaronw11. Edited by Hallam Bullock (tweet @hallam_bullock) in London.