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.
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.
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