Carlyle Group Inc. announced on Monday that its 56-year-old chief executive, Kewsong Lee, has resigned with immediate effect, months before the end of his five-year term.
Lee has also resigned as a board member, the company announced two weeks after it disclosed earnings without mentioning possible leadership changes.
Carlyle disclosed in a statement that it and Lee mutually decided not to renew his contract, which was set to expire at the end of 2022, without specifying the reasons.
The CEO search will be conducted with "urgency," Conway said in a separate memo to global staff on Sunday, which Reuters reviewed, stressing that the company must continue to execute its business plan.
The CEO search will be conducted with "urgency," Conway said in a separate memo to global staff on Sunday, which Reuters reviewed, stressing that the company must continue to execute its business plan. Lee, who turns 57 this week, could not be reached for comment immediately. His departure comes 18 months after Carlyle revealed a commitment to fast-track growth and improve shareholder value.
Conway also stated in the memo that the company has established a CEO office comprised of senior executives with whom he would collaborate closely.
Chief Operating Officer of Carlyle Chris Finn has delayed his previously anticipated retirement at the end of 2022 to assist with the transition.
The departure of Lee coincides with a tough macroeconomic and investment climate for private equity businesses, including geopolitical risks and dramatically rising interest rates.
The company outperformed its competitors in its most recent financial report. Its corporate private-equity funds remained unchanged during the second quarter, but its real estate and credit funds grew by 4% and 2%, respectively.
In contrast, the share price increase of Carlyle has trailed in the last five years. Since August 2017, Blackstone's shares have increased by more than threefold, while Carlyle's have increased by around 80 percent.
Carlyle has announced that it is raising capital for its eighth U.S. buyout fund and fifth Europe technology fund. According to a source with knowledge of the financing, the firm is also investigating a new $8.5 billion Asia-focused buyout fund that aims for its first closure within the next couple of months.
In the coming months, Carlyle expects to begin fundraising for a new pan-European buyout fund, according to a second source with knowledge of the matter.
Lee joined Carlyle in 2013 as the firm's deputy chief investment officer for corporate private equity and was promoted to co-CEO in 2017; he will assume entire responsibility for the position in 2020.