Ares Names Michael Arougheti as CEO Amid Shifts in Industry's Leadership

  • Billionaire co-founder Ressler to become executive chairman
  • Peers Carlyle, KKR, Apollo made executive changes this year

Ares Management LP named Michael Arougheti as chief executive officer, becoming the latest big alternative-asset manager to reshape leadership this year as they operate on a new, larger scale.

Co-founder and CEO Tony Ressler, 57, will become executive chairman and focus on client relationships, marketing and the strategic direction of the firm, which has grown to manage about $106 billion in credit, private equity and real estate assets. Chief Financial Officer Michael McFerran will continue in that role as well as become chief operating officer, and Ryan Berry will become chief marketing and strategy officer, Ressler said in an interview.

The changes at Los Angeles-based Ares take effect Jan. 1.

“Firms like ours are bigger and more complicated and more geographically diverse than they’ve ever been,” said Ressler, a former Drexel Burnham Lambert Inc. banker who co-founded Ares in 1997. “Our job is to put people in the right seats so they can do what they do best.”

Several of the biggest alternative-asset managers mapped out succession plans this year, in some cases as their founders aged into their 70s. Carlyle Group LP named Glenn Youngkin and Kewsong Lee as co-CEOs, succeeding co-founders David Rubenstein and William Conway. Henry Kravis and George Roberts, the co-founders and co-CEOs of KKR & Co., tapped Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae as co-presidents and signaled that the duo are on track to share the top job. Apollo Global Management LLC also named a pair of presidents, Scott Kleinman and James Zelter.

“The business has matured, with investors asking more and more of us,” Arougheti said in an interview. “It’s been a long time since any of us were small partnerships.”

‘Positive Step’

By naming Arougheti to the CEO post, Ares is breaking from the broader trend, not waiting until the founder is in his 70s. Ressler and Arougheti said the moves reflect the firm’s expansion rather than an intention to reduce any role.

Arougheti, 45, is familiar to clients and shareholders, who have engaged with him during conferences and quarterly earnings presentations. The former Royal Bank of Canada executive joined Ares in 2004 and was named as president in 2014. He’s also co-chairman of Ares Capital Corp., a $12 billion publicly traded lender managed by Ares Management.

“To be a great global alternative-asset manager, we have to excel in all aspects of our business,” he said. “This is another positive step in our evolution.”

For Ressler, the move will involve deeper and more active involvement with Ares investors. Many are aiming to make bigger commitments, often in the billions of dollars, to a smaller number of asset managers.

Read More About Tony Ressler and the History of Ares’s Growth

In 2015, Ressler and a group purchased the National Basketball Association’s Atlanta Hawks for $730 million. The billionaire is also a philanthropist, having co-founded Painted Turtle Camp for chronically ill children and co-chairing a group of Los Angeles charter schools, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools.

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