KKR Names Alex Navab Sole Head of Americas Private Equity

KKR & Co., the private-equity firm led by Henry Kravis and George Roberts, named Alex Navab sole head of private equity for the Americas, a title he previously shared with dealmaker Michael Michelson.

Michelson, who joined the New York-based firm in 1981, five years after its founding, will now spend more time sourcing deals and working with portfolio companies, according to a memo sent to investors, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. Michelson, 61, was co-head of the Americas Private Equity unit, known as AMPE, with Navab, 48, for five years.

“Mike will continue as an integral, full time part of AMPE but with the ability to now devote even more time to investing and portfolio value creation,” Kravis and Roberts wrote in the memo, sent to investors in May.

Kristi Huller, a KKR spokeswoman, confirmed the memo’s contents and said the move is related to “streamlining” management of the group. Reuters reported the move earlier today.

“We think of it as putting one of our best players back on the field,” Huller said by telephone.

Michelson remains a member of the firm’s management committee and North American private-equity investment committee. He has helped lead KKR’s investments in hospital operator HCA Holdings Inc., grocery chain Fred Meyer Inc. and Biomet Inc., a maker of artificial hips and knees, according to his corporate biography. He’s currently a board member at Warsaw, Indiana-based Biomet and Nashville, Tennessee-based HCA.

KKR was founded by cousins Kravis and Roberts with partner Jerome Kohlberg, who left the firm in 1987. The firm has faced questions from investors about succession. Kravis said in November that he and Roberts, both 70, have no reason to step back from their roles at the firm, which they believe is in the “second inning” of its growth.

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