KKR private equity titans Henry Kravis and George Roberts will are stepping down from their eponymous firm, the company announced Monday.
Co-presidents Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae will become co-CEOs.
Billionaire cousins Kravis, 77, and Roberts, 78, will stay on as executive co-chairmen and “will remain actively involved” the announcement said.
Kravis and Roberts — along with Jerome Kohlberg — launched the firm in 1976 and it quickly grew as the trio used aggressive measures like leveraged buyouts to take over companies.
The fund grew from $30 million in 1978 to more than $429 billion today.
KKR’s $25 billion buyout of RJR Nabisco put the firm on the map as one of the most feared on Wall Street firms — the deal was written about in “Barbarians at the Gate.” The highly lucrative strategy netted the co-founders billions: Kravis is worth an estimated $8.6 billion; Roberts is worth an estimated $9.1 billion, according to Forbes.
Kravis and Roberts will cede much of their control as KKR changes the voting structure of the shares to eliminate preferred shares by 2026. The changes will mean common shareholders will be given “a one vote per share” on key issues including voting for a board of directors.
The succession plan was put in place back in 2017 when Bae, 49, and Nuttall, 48, were first named co-presidents. Bae was instrumental in expanding the outfit’s reach to Asia and building out KKR’s Asia-Pacific platform and Nuttall led KKR’s 2010 IPO and developed its public market business. The pair have been at KKR since 1996.
Co-presidents Scott Nuttall, left, and Joseph Bae will become co-CEOs of KKR.AP; Getty Images
KKR shares was trading at $66.57 — up 1.6 percent following the announcement.
KKR’s investments include ride-sharing app Lyft and media behemoth Axel Springer.
The KKR shakeup comes amid leadership changes at other massive private equity companies including Apollo and Carlyle. Former Apollo CEO Leon Black stepped down following an investigation into his dealing with pedophile Jeffrey Epstein — he was replaced by Marc Rowan. Carlyle Group co-founders David Rubenstein, William Conway, and Daniel D’Aniello left the outfit in 2018 for it to be run by CEO Kewson Lee.
Blackstone co-founder and CEO Stephen Schwarzman remains at the helm of the company he helped create.
With Post wires