The Carlyle Group Announces Major Shift in Leadership

The Carlyle Group's logo.

Last week, asset management company The Carlyle Group appointed Glenn Youngkin and Kewsong Lee its new co-chief executive officers. From an outsider’s perspective, the leadership change may not seem all that significant. But for those in the finance industry, it marks a huge milestone.

In private equity, transference of power is rare. Rival buyout firm KKR recently underwent a similar shift in leadership in which Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae were appointed co-presidents and co-chief operating officers. Their new positions will prepare them to take over from co-founders George Roberts and Henry Kravis when the 73-year-olds decide to step down from their roles as co-chairmen and co-chief executives.

And while 73 is well past the typical retirement age, these types of extended power reigns are all too prominent in private equity. Fellow competitor The Blackstone Group has yet to formally announce its next successor, even though its CEO Stephen Schwarzman is 70.

The same pattern can be seen with Apollo Global Management. CEO Leon Black, 66, has not yet named his successor. In this case, however, it’s not necessarily a pressing matter, since his co-founding partners, Joshua Harris and Marc Rowan, are 52 and 55, respectively.

The finance industry’s reluctance to hand over the reigns is precisely what makes The Carlyle Group’s appointment of Glenn Youngkin and Kewsong Lee as co-chief executive officers so significant. As Reuters put it, it’s the “biggest shakeup since [The Carlyle Group] was founded by David Rubenstein, William Conway, and Daniel D‘Aniello 30 years ago.”

But as far as Rubenstein, Conway, and D‘Aniello are concerned, they’re confident they’ve placed the future of their company into the right hands.

In a statement, the Carlyle founders concluded, “These promotions ensure continuity in our leadership and maintain the investment processes that have driven our success for 30 years.”

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