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Talent Goes by the Board

Recruiter Dennis Carey discusses why top execs are walking away from their old outfits to hook up with private equity firms

It used to be that top executives at big public companies moved right over to become board members of other big public companies once their management gigs were over. Now an increasing number are choosing to work at private equity firms. Just look at former General Electric (GE ) CEO Jack Welch, who now works for buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Or ex-IBM (IBM ) chief Lou Gerstner, who's at the Carlyle Group.

And the trend continues. On July 19, John Joyce, chief of IBM Global Services, announced he will be leaving to join private equity firm Silver Lake Partners. And there's buzz on Wall Street that Sanford "Sandy" Weill, Citigroup (C ) founder and chairman, is set to launch a $5 billion private-equity fund with one of Citi's largest investors -- the Saudi Prince Alaweed Bin Talel al-Saud. Citigroup won't comment on the speculation.