Berkshire, Vestar announce new managing directors

Roger Holstein joins Vestar Capital Partners, while Michael Ascione was promoted at Berkshire Partners.

US private equity firms Vestar Capital Partners and Berkshire Partners today each announced significant additions to their respective partner rosters.

Former chief executive officer and director of health information website WebMD, Roger Holstein, has joined Vestar as a managing director.

Holstein’s appointment comes after serving as senior advisor to the firm for six months, and just a month after David Hooper, former chairman of the US investment committee at Vestar left to join Centerview Partners

“Roger brings more than 30 years of management experience in transforming businesses across numerous industries,” said Daniel O’Connell, founder and chief executive officer of Vestar, in a statement.

At Vestar, Holstein will focus on investments in the healthcare, media/communications and consumer sectors.

A former professional basketball player with the Spirits of St. Louis team, Holstein was previously a member of the office of the president at Medco, a prescription benefit management firm. He has also held senior management positions at MCI Corporation, Warner Communications and Grey Advertising.

Vestar closed its fifth fund at $3.7 billion (€2.9 billion) in January 2006. The firm currently manages funds totaling approximately $7 billion.

In a separate announcement, Berkshire Partners promoted Michael Ascione to managing director from principal.

Ascione, who first joined Berkshire in 2001, is the firm’s twelfth managing director. His previous experiences include the director of business development at an IT services firm, a senior associate at private equity firm Inverness Management, and a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Berkshire closed its seventh investment fund at $3.1 billion in October 2006. The fund is expected to consist largely of mid-sized, North American-based investments in the retail, manufacturing and transportation services industries.