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Irving Place COO retires

Gwyneth Ketterer has left the firm and plans to teach a class at Columbia Business School

Gwyneth Ketterer, a partner and chief operating officer of Irving Place Capital, has confirmed that she is retiring from the firm.

Ketterer has been planning to retire for several months, and plans to teach a private equity-focused class at Columbia Business School.

Ketterer was responsible for the management of the Irving Place's private equity portfolios, strategy, capital raising initiatives and new business development.

She began her career as an M&A analyst at Oppenheimer, where she was the first women hired into her group. After graduating from business school at Columbia, she went to work at Lehman Brothers, where she eventually launched the firm's private equity arm.

She came to Bear Stearns during the early days of its own private equity arm, Bear Stearns Merchant Banking. When Bear Stearns was acquired by JP Morgan last year, the future of BSMB appeared uncertain.

BSMB said it would spin off from new parent JPMorgan to become an independent private equity firm on 5 June. At that time, final documentation was underway to transfer investments JPMorgan received through the merger with Bear Stearns into a “passive vehicle”. JPMorgan would then become BSMB's limited partner.

In November rebranded as Irving Place, the location of important meetings in the firm's early development as well as the home of chief executive John Howard. At the time of the spinout Ketterer was one of the highest placed women in private equity.

At BSMB, Ketterer was among the first private equity operators to advocate the use of portfolio monitoring dashboards and cross portfolio savings initiatives. In 1994 she conducted an analysis of BSMB's portfolio companies spend, and picked 10 common areas for cutting costs through renegotiating contracts – including temp labor, telecommunications, insurance, plastic bags, transportation, overnight packages, office supplies, travel.

The firm is currently investing a $2.7 billion mid-market fund and a $250 million growth capital fund, both closed in 2006.

Mega-firms endorse responsible investing
Members of the Washington, DC-based lobbying group the Private Equity Council, including Bain Capital Partners, TPG, Apollo Global Management, The Carlyle Group and Apax Partners, have signed on to a set of socially responsible investment guidelines calling for private equity firms to consider environmental, public health, safety and social issues associated with target companies. They also call for firms to support competitive wages and benefits, support labor laws and use governance structures for oversight over conflicts of interest and appropriate compensation levels. The guidelines came out of discussions PEC members had with institutional investors who had signed on to the United Nations' Principles for Responsible Investing. A PEC spokesman said the recommendations don't bar investment in any company or industry, but represent a commitment to work with management and investors to make the company better. Other members of the PEC, which was formed in 2007 as a lobbying group for the private equity industry, include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners and Thomas H Lee Partners.

Atlas reshuffles amid COO retirement
Following the retirement of chief operating officer Jeanne Henry, Atlas Venture has closed its eighth fund short of its original target and reshuffled its staff. Atlas Fund VIII went to market early last year with a $500 million target, but the firm “almost immediately” revised the target to $400 million and eventually held a final close in late January on $283 million. “For venture, we felt being at almost $300 million was adequate,” partner Jean-Francois Formela said in an interview. “Some of our lead investors actually have increased their commitments in Fund VIII. They like the fact that some people are going back to what venture should be, which is early stage, true innovation and capital efficient.” Atlas makes early stage investments in the tech and life sciences sectors. In addition to Henry's retirement, Ahmet Ozalp, a partner based out of Boston, and Martin Gibson, a London-based partner, will leave the firm, while partners Eric Hjerpe and Barry Fidelman will move into venture partner roles. Bruce Booth was also promoted to partner in the life sciences group.

Carlyle putting jet up for sale
US private equity buyout firm The Carlyle Group is reportedly looking for a buyer for its 2004 Gulfstream G450, according to documents obtained from a jet broker. The firm joins several other major investment firms that have cut back on their private jet budgets. Among others, Citigroup put two of its Dassault Falcon 900 jets on the market in December. The jet came onto the market as Carlyle lost €185m million on its investment in bankrupt German car parts manufacturer Edscha, which the firm purchased in 2003 in an approximately €220 million transaction. Last December another Carlyle-backed firm filed for bankruptcy: Hawaiian Telecom Communications, the largest telephone carrier in Hawaii, which was acquired by the firm for €1.6 billion in 2005. Around the same time Carlyle announced plans to cut its workforce by 10 percent, the first such layoffs in its history, as well as close its office in the Silicon Valley.