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KKR Hires Goldman Exec to Expand Alternative Strategies in Asia

The firm is building out its senior staff in Asia as it pushes beyond private equity in the region.

KKR & Co. has hired Kate Richdale from Goldman Sachs Group to speed its growth in Asia beyond private equity. 

Richdale will lead KKR's strategy and business development in Asia Pacific, working with senior leadership to expand into new investment strategies and across business lines, according to a March 3 statement from the firm. She previously worked in Hong Kong as Goldman’s chairman of investment banking for Asia, excluding Japan.

KKR, co-founded by Henry Kravis, Jerome Kohlberg, and George Roberts in 1976, has been expanding beyond its private equity roots into areas such as credit, real estate, and infrastructure. The New York-based firm sees these alternative investment strategies as ripe for growth in Asia and is building out staff to meet regional demand.

“Since we started investing in Asia nearly 15 years ago, KKR has grown from a private equity investor to a diversified alternative solutions provider,” Ming Lu, head of KKR Asia, said in the statement. “Our first phase of growth has focused on scaling our private equity business, and now we have the great opportunity to meet the growing needs of Asian businesses and entrepreneurs.” 

KKR, run by co-chief executive officers Kravis and Roberts, has installed senior leadership in Asia over the past year to lead its local push into alternative strategies beyond private equity.

In January, KKR said that David Luboff had joined from Macquarie Group to oversee Asia-Pacific infrastructure investing. And last year, KKR announced it had hired John Pattar from CLSA Capital Partners as the head of real estate for Asia Pacific. Also in 2018, KKR’s Brian Dillard moved to Hong Kong, from New York, to lead the firm’s credit business in Asia. 

“Asia Pacific holds enormous opportunity for investment and partnership and is an integral part of KKR’s global growth strategy,” Joseph Bae, co-president of KKR, said in the firm statement. 

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Institutional investors have been hunting for yield in private markets globally. Last year consulting firm Cerulli Associates said that sovereign wealth funds in Asia were turning to alternative investment strategies due to concern that public markets had become expensive amid slowing global growth. 

In 2017, Asia represented 11 percent of KKR’s revenue, compared to 51 percent for North America and 38 percent for Europe, according to the firm’s investor day presentation last year.

“Given our market position and commitment to building out our platform, now is the right time to bring in a talented executive like Kate Richdale,” Bae said. 

Richdale has moved into asset management after 25 years of investment banking.  

Before chairing Goldman’s investment banking business in Asia Ex-Japan, she co-headed the division, according to KKR’s statement. Richdale had previously led Morgan Stanley’s Asia-Pacific investment banking unit.

“I’m thrilled to join the KKR team and seek out new opportunities for business growth at this exciting time for the region,” she said in the statement.

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