KKR replaces MENA head

The global alternatives giant has replaced Makram Azar as its MENA head with Citigroup veteran Kaveh Samie.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has recruited HSBC’s former head of equities in the Middle East and North Africa to spearhead its expansion in the region.

The appointment of Kaveh Samie, who begins work with KKR in January, follows the departure of Makram Azar, who was brought in two years ago to build KKR’s MENA presence. Azar, a former Lehman Brothers banker, left KKR in June 2010 to join Barclays Capital as head of investment banking for the region.

Kaveh Samie

As the new MENA head for KKR, Sameh will work with closely with Ford Fraker, a former US ambassador and KKR’s chairman in the region, to expand the firm’s presence in the region, the firm said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Kaveh has spent 25 years developing global and local equity platforms and building a strong network of relationships in the Middle East and North Africa,” said Henry Kravis, co-founder of KKR, in the statement. “His close ties to investors, as well as his expertise in a multitude of financial products, will be very valuable as we grow KKR’s product offerings and evaluate investment opportunities in the region.”

Samie joined HSBC in 2009, having spent 16 years at Citigroup, most recently as regional head of equities covering sovereign wealth funds, government entities and family offices. He has also worked previously at Oppenheimer & Co, Prudential Securities and Julius Baer.

KKR’s first foray into the MENA region was the 2008 hire of Azar, who was mandated to build a team. The Dubai office subsequently opened in 2009.

KKR is planning to commence fundraising in early 2011 for its next global private equity fund. Its existing private equity vehicle, the KKR 2006 Fund, closed on $17.6 billion in 2006. The firm has raised capital for a number of other investment strategies, such as infrastructure and mezzanine finance.