Carlyle CEO Kewsong Lee quits abruptly

Carlyle Group CEO Kewsong Lee speaks at a Reuters Newsmaker event in New York, U.S., September 22, 2021. REUTERS/Stephen Yang/

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Aug 7 (Reuters) – Private equity firm Carlyle Group Inc said on Sunday that its CEO, Kewsong Lee, 56, had resigned with immediate effect months before the scheduled end of his five-year contract.

In a statement, Carlyle said so and Lee mutually agreed not to renew Lee’s contract as CEO which ends at the end of 2022, without disclosing the reasons. The company, which announced its results two weeks ago without signaling any leadership changes, said Lee had also resigned from its board. Read more

Co-founder Bill Conway would serve as interim CEO while a new candidate is searched, the company said.

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Lee, who turns 57 this week, could not immediately be reached for comment. His departure comes 18 months after Carlyle announced a strategic plan to accelerate growth and increase shareholder value.

In a memo to global staff on Sunday after the announcement, reviewed by Reuters, Conway said the company had established a CEO office comprised of key senior executives, with whom he would work closely.

Senior executives include Carlyle COO Chris Finn, who had delayed his previously announced late-2022 retirement to help with the transition, Conway said in the memo.

The search for a CEO will be undertaken “with a sense of urgency,” Conway said, adding the company must continue to execute on its business plan.

A Carlyle spokeswoman declined to comment on the memo. Conway declined to comment beyond the announcement.

Lee joined Carlyle in 2013 as deputy chief investment officer for corporate private equity and was named co-CEO of the company in 2017, only assuming the title in 2020.

Previously, he had a 21-year career with rival company Warburg Pincus.

His profile page is no longer available on the Carlyle website.

Carlyle has 26 offices on five continents, managing private equity and credit funds and private equity asset manager AlpInvest.

As of June 30, 2022, the company had $376 billion in total assets under management, of which $260 billion were interest-bearing, and capital available for future investment was $81 billion, according to its Sunday release.

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Reporting by Jyoti Narayan in Bengaluru, Kane Wu in Hong Kong and Anirban Sen in New York; Additional reporting by Chibuike Ogui in New York; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Kenneth Maxwell

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