KKR Co-CEOs Henry Kravis, George Roberts Step Down

Henry Kravis and George Roberts are stepping down as co-chief executive officers of KKR & Co., as the founders of the seminal private-equity firm become the latest to pass the torch to handpicked successors.

Joe Bae and Scott Nuttall, who have served as the firm’s co-presidents since July 2017, will become co-CEOs, effective immediately, KKR said Monday.

Joe Bae at an investment summit in 2018.

Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg News

Scott Nuttall at the same summit in 2018.

Photo: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg News

Messrs. Kravis and Roberts, first cousins who founded KKR with Jerome Kohlberg in 1976, will continue to serve as co-executive chairmen. Mr. Kohlberg died in 2015.

KKR also announced a series of structural and governance changes aimed at helping it transition to a “one-share, one-vote” structure from the current dual-class setup that gives the two founders extra voting power. In doing so, it follows in the footsteps of Carlyle Group Inc. and Apollo Global Management Inc., rivals that have announced their own leadership and governance transitions.

Messrs. Kravis and Roberts, pioneers of the buyout industry, have led KKR as it developed into a global investment firm with $429 billion in assets across numerous business lines at the end of the second quarter. In February, the firm closed a deal to buy insurance company Global Atlantic Financial Group Ltd., giving it $90 billion more to manage.

Still, KKR’s asset growth has lagged behind that of rival Blackstone Inc., which manages more than $680 billion in assets.

Messrs. Bae and Nuttall both joined KKR in 1996. Mr. Bae was the driving force behind KKR’s successful expansion in Asia and has been in charge of its private-markets investing. Mr. Nuttall oversaw the firm’s public listing and spearheaded the creation of its capital-markets and insurance businesses.

Write to Miriam Gottfried at Miriam.Gottfried@wsj.com

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