Credit Suisse’s Brennan to join Carlyle

Jessica Hoffman Brennan will join former Credit Suisse executives Michael Arpey and Alok Gaur on Carlyle’s investor relations team.

Jessica Hoffman Brennan, a managing director in Credit Suisse’s private equity fundraising business, has resigned and will be joining The Carlyle Group’s investor relations team.

Brennan had been at Credit Suisse since 1999. Carlyle and Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Brennan worked on hundreds of alternative investment funds in various strategies including buyout, venture capital, mezzanine, distressed, secondaries and hedge funds, according to a market sources familiar with the team.

During her time at Credit Suisse, Brennan worked with institutions like state and corporate pensions, fund of funds, foundations, wealthy families and endowments, sources said.

Carlyle and Credit Suisse

Carlyle has fished the talent-rich waters of Credit Suisse in the past, luring away Michael Arpey, another Credit Suisse managing director, last year. Arpey was the managing director and co-head of the bank’s Customized Fund Investment Group, the private equity fund of funds business within the Alternative Investments Group. Arpey co-founded the group in 1999.


Carlyle brought in Arpey to run its day-to-day internal private equity fundraising operations, which are ultimately overseen by the firm’s head David Rubenstein. The firm has bulked up its in-house investor relations teams as it works to expand its limited partner base. Other mega-funds like Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and The Blackstone Group have made similar moves.

The Washington, DC-based firm also hired Alok Gaur earlier this year from Greenhill, which he had joined in April 2010 from Credit Suisse. Gaur, who as a Credit Suisse fundraiser had been based in Chicago, left the bank as part of a large exodus of real estate fundraisers. At Carlyle, Gaur focuses exclusively on global real estate.

Sources said the Credit Suisse fundraisers were not necessarily close to Arpey at the bank, discounting the idea that Arpey was reeling in former colleagues. More accurately, Carlyle presented a good opportunity to professionals because of its generous compensation and diversified platform of products, sources said. 

Carlyle has traditionally had a robust internal fundraising operation, and has about 20 people in-house for investor relations. Carlyle also used external placement agents on a limited basis, though the firm publicly announced in 2009 it would not use placement agents after reaching a settlement with New York State to “resolve its role” in a pay-to-play scandal. Carlyle was not accused of wrongdoing.

Other departures

Credit Suisse lost private equity fundraising veteran, Sarah McFadden Sandström, last year to Atlantic-Pacific Capital, where she was hired as a partner. Sandström started at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette in 1999, a year before the firm was acquired by Credit Suisse.

Conrad Yan departed the bank late last year. Yan was helping to raise funds in Asia as part of the bank’s Asian asset management institutional distribution team. Yan joined Campbell Lutyens after only about a year at Credit Suisse.

Credit Suisse lost at least 16 real estate fundraisers last year to Greenhill, an exodus that started with the departure of four senior members. The bank told Private Equity International’s sister web site PERE last year that it remained committed to raising private equity real estate funds.

The bank’s real estate fundraising was integrated into the broader private funds group, though information was not immediately available on what that team looks like today.

Strong fundraising bench

Despite the recent departures, Credit Suisse has one of the largest private equity fundraising teams in the market, with about 70 professionals around the world. The team is led by Anthony Bowe and John Robertshaw.

Credit Suisse strengthened its private fundraising group in 2009, bringing on 18 professionals. The group is looking to expand in Asia, according to a source.

Credit Suisse’s private funds group was voted North American placement agent of the year in Private Equity International’s 2010 Awards.

The firm has closed or has been working on raising numerous funds in the last few months, including TCW spin-out EIG Energy Fund XV, which recently raised the hard cap on its debut independent fund to $4 billion. Credit Suisse also placed Wellspring Capital Management’s fifth fund, which closed on $1.2 billion in November.