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KKR's administrative shake-up

Ahead of a planned IPO, the private equity behemoth has named its first CAO, added business lines and reorganized key fundraising roles

Despite a deal slump, few people can say Kohlberg Kravis Roberts is resting on its laurels these days. The firm has announced a series of initiatives aimed at improving the management of its operations.

Scott Nuttall, the head of KKR's financial services group, will now also oversee fundraising and broker-dealer activities, allowing veteran fundraiser Perry Golkin to narrow his investor relations activities; Todd Fisher, co-founder of the firm's London office, will become the firm's first chief administrative officer; and finally, KKR Financial (KFL), the firm's credit business, has been fully integrated into the rest of KKR. These moves come in tandem with efforts to launch infrastructure and traditional asset management vehicles.

The personnel shifts and additions are ahead of a planned initial public offering for KKR, although it is unclear when the market will support such an offering.

Scott Nuttall, while continuing to lead the firm's financial services group, will now oversee all capital raising, distribution and broker-dealer activities, as 22-year veteran Perry Golkin “has decided to shift his focus to maintaining and building certain key investor relationships,” according to a statement from the firm.

Nuttall will also oversee the hiring of a new head of distribution. This new hire will work alongside Craig Farr, a managing director who will become KKR's head of capital markets. While only 33 years old, Nuttall is already a ten-year veteran of the firm, and has been a director at KKR since 2004. He recently who led the firm's $29 billion planned takeover of First Data, the credit card processing group and sits on the board of the Willis Group. Prior to joining KKR, he was with the Blackstone Group where he was involved in numerous merchant banking and merger and acquisition transactions.

KKR has also appointed Todd Fisher, the co-founder of its London office, to the newly created position of chief administrative officer. In the role, Fisher will oversee the coordination and integration of the firm's internal infrastructure, communication and global interaction, KKR said. The role was created “due to our significant growth over the last few years,” KKR said. Fisher will continue to be based in London and sit on the firm's investment committee. Fisher also led KKR's European chemicals and financial services team. Prior to joining the firm in 1993, Fisher worked at Goldman Sachs and Drexel Burnham Lambert.

The firm also reorganized KFL, shifting the credit unit from a 65 percent owned entity to a wholly owned entity, by purchasing outright the 35 percent of the credit investment platform. As part of the integration into the KKR franchise, KFL has been rebranded KKR Fixed Income.

As part of this integration, Nino Fanlo and Dave Netjes, founding partners of KFL, will become members of KKR and Mark Lerdal and Ryan Marshall will become managing directors, with the rest of the team expected to be similarly integrated by July 31. The firm explains that the goal of these changes is to simplify KKR's corporate structure and enhance the firm's ability to expand KKR Fixed Income.

“These initiatives will strengthen our fixed income activities by reducing the time spent by Nino, Dave and their team on day-to-day administrative functions and allowing them to maximize their successful collaboration with KKR's investment professionals,” Henry Kravis and George Roberts said at a firm meeting in June, according to a statement.

The firm also appointed TCW Group president William Sonneborn to develop traditional asset management lines such as public equity funds. The former money management head will work with KKR Fixed Income, and help launch funds investing in publicly-traded stocks.

Finally, this past May, KKR launched an initiative to invest in infrastructure assets, after recruiting George Bilicic, a former Lazard managing director, according to a London source that spoke with sister news source PrivateEquityOnline. Bilicic advised KKR for Lazard on its $45 billion buyout of TXU, a Texan energy company, alongside TPG Capital. The firm is planning to raise a $5 billion fund, according to Financial Times. “For the time being KKR will invest in infrastructure from existing funds,” the source said.