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Carlyle Founders Step Back in Leadership Shakeup

The $170 billion private equity firm laid out its succession plan, announcing new co-chief executives to replace David Rubenstein and William Conway.

  • Alicia McElhaney

The Carlyle Group’s founders announced plans to step down as co-chief executives early next year as an initial step in the private equity firm’s succession plan.

David Rubenstein and William Conway said Wednesday that they would step down from the chief executive role on January 1, 2018. They will then become co-executive chairmen, remaining a part of Carlyle’s executive group and board.

Kewsong Lee and Glenn Youngkin, whose names had previously been floated as possible successors, will become the new co-chief executives.

The news comes just three months after rival firm KKR & Co. laid out its own succession plan, sparking speculation about the succession strategies at other private equity firms as industry executives age.

According to the Carlyle announcement, Lee will focus on the firm’s corporate private equity and global credit businesses, in addition to corporate strategy and capital markets. Meanwhile, Youngkin will focus on the firm’s real estate, energy, and infrastructure business, as well as Carlyle’s investment solutions segment and investor relations.

“These promotions ensure continuity in our leadership and maintain the investment processes that have driven our success for 30 years,” Conway and Rubenstein said in a joint statement.

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Lee currently serves as deputy CIO of Carlyle’s corporate private equity segment, in addition to acting as head of its global market strategies group. He also serves on the firm’s management committee. Lee first joined Carlyle in 2013 after 21 years at Warburg Pincus.

Youngkin is Carlyle’s president and chief operating officer, serving on the firm’s executive group and management committee. He has worked for Carlyle for 23 years.

In addition to these changes, Peter Clare will become co-chief investment officer alongside current CIO William Conway, according to the statement. Clare is a member of the firm’s management committee who now serves as deputy CIO of Carlyle’s corporate private equity segment, as well as co-head of its U.S. buyout group. He joined the firm in 1992.

Carlyle’s current chairman, Daniel D’Aniello, will become chairman emeritus and continue to serve in the firm’s executive group.