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Why Carlyle's Billionaire Founders Had Enough of Their Chosen Successor

  • Tensions mounted for months before Kewsong Lee’s resignation
  • Insiders say focus was on leadership; strategy to remain same
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Carlyle CEO Kewsong Lee Steps Down, Conway to Be Interim Chief
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Inside Carlyle Group, battle lines were forming. On one side: Kewsong Lee, the executive hand-picked to assume the mantle of Carlyle’s co-founders and clear the path for a new generation of leaders. On the other: the very people who hand-picked him.

Growing tensions within the private-equity firm -- between a new CEO eager to assert power and an old guard reluctant to give it up -- reached the breaking point last week. Carlyle’s board members decided they had lost confidence in Lee’s leadership. The CEO, after seeking a larger pay package for his contract set to renew at the end of 2022, abruptly stepped down.