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KKR promotes senior partners to regional private equity co-heads

By Pamela Barbaglia

By Pamela Barbaglia

LONDON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - U.S. buyout fund KKR has tapped six of its most senior partners to share the leadership of its private equity operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific as part of a new management structure.

The New York-listed investment firm said in a statement on Wednesday it had promoted Pete Stavros and Nate Taylor to co-head its private equity unit in the Americas, reporting to KKR's co-president and co-chief operating officer Joe Bae.

In Europe Mattia Caprioli and Philipp Freise, who both joined the firm in 2001, will take the helm of the private equity business while Hiro Hirano and Ashish Shastry will do the same in Asia Pacific.

KKR manages multiple alternative asset classes spanning private equity, infrastructure, energy, real estate and credit.

It has a preference for power-sharing, with co-founders and co-chief executive officers Henry Kravis and George Roberts also splitting global responsibilities.

The pair said the promotions would enable KKR "to maintain our leadership in private equity for decades to come."

The 43-year old firm has clinched some of the world's biggest takeovers including the $25 billion leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco in 1988. More recently it bought U.S. digital enterprise specialist BMC Software and a chunk of Campbell Soup's international business.

In Europe it has deployed 7.4 billion euros of capital since 2009 as part of 34 deals, a source close to the firm told Reuters, making 2.5 times its investment over the last decade.

With nine partners and 45 private equity executives in Europe, the firm has been a consistent investor in the region, often outbidding rivals in competitive auctions such as the 2017 sale of Unilever's spreads business, which KKR won for 6.83 billion euros.

In August this year it became the biggest shareholder in German publisher Axel Springer, paying 2.9 billion euros for a 43.54% stake and backing a plan by Friede Springer, the widow of the company's name-sake founder, to take the business private.

KKR's EMEA head Johannes Huth said the firm would continue to take advantage of new opportunities in the region, adding Caprioli and Freise had a strong track record of leadership as investors and team builders.

(Reporting By Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)