Blackstone nabs CSFB pro to oversee portfolio

DLJ Merchant Banking’s James Quella jumps ship to Blackstone to monitor the performance of the private equity firm’s portfolio companies.

New York private investment conglomerate The Blackstone Group today announced the hiring of James Quella as senior managing director in charge of monitoring the strategy and operations of Blackstone’s private equity portfolio companies.


Quella will also become a member of Blackstone’s investment committee.


The new head of portfolio companies joins Blackstone from DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, a division of CSFB Private Equity, where he was a managing director and senior operating partner.


Quella joined DLJ in 2000, just prior to its merger with CSFB. Quella previously was vice chairman of Mercer Management Consulting and a director of Mercer Consulting Group, a subsidiary of Marsh McClennan Companies.


At DLJ Merchant Banking, Quella was responsible for the oversight of the firm’s portfolio companies, including board representation and the responsibility for operating performance and portfolio company management.


This is the third high-level departure for CSFB in recent months. Late last year, PEO revealed that global private equity head Larry Schloss would resign this month to pursue other opportunities. Before that, Reid Perper, one of two London-based managing directors, left the business.


Blackstone, led by president and chief executive officer Stephen Schwarzman, has recently been on a senior-level hiring tear.


Last year, Prakash Melwani, a founding partner of buyout firm Vestar Capital Partners, joined Blackstone’s private equity group as a senior partner.


The firm also announced that Thomas Middleton, a former vice chairman of investment banking at Merrill Lynch, joined the firm as a senior managing director in charge of its M&A advisory practice.


In 2002, Blackstone hired Hamilton James, the head of CSFB’s private equity and investment banking division, as vice chairman of the firm.


In a statement, Schwarzman said of Quella’s new role: “With the dramatic growth in both the number and size of our private equity portfolio companies, it was becoming increasingly important to formalize our process of monitoring both the strategy and performance of these entities.”