Carlyle brings in the big guns to advise co-CEOs

The firm has tapped a navy veteran and leadership guru to serve as confidante to its recently appointed co-chief executives.

As a former four-star US Navy admiral, Jim Stavridis is no stranger to leadership. The Carlyle Group’s newest operating executive was appointed earlier this week in order to provide exactly that.

One of Stavridis’s primary objectives will be to act as an advisor, sounding board and confidante to the firm’s co-chief executives Glenn Youngkin and Kewsong Lee, a spokesman for Carlyle told Private Equity International. The pair have not been at the helm long, having only taken over from co-founders David Rubenstein and Bill Conway in January.

Jim Stavridis

Stavridis’ CV boasts an array of impressive leadership roles, including supreme allied commander of NATO, senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the Secretary of Defence and leader of the Navy’s innovation think tank Deep Blue. One of his eight published works is titled The Leader’s Bookshelf.

“Jim is an exceptional leader, thinker and strategist,” Youngkin and Lee said in a statement.

“His more than 30 years of service at the helm of complex organizations make him an ideal advisor to us and our colleagues at Carlyle. Jim will bring innovative perspectives and a critical eye to this important role.”

Stavridis’ appointment also tells us something about Carlyle’s investment plans. Its longstanding airspace and defence team has been relatively quiet of late, but the former admiral will be called upon to help the firm’s investment team tap into emerging trends in the sector.

Cybersecurity is also fast becoming a hot-button issue for private equity. Carlyle is one of a number of firms increasing its investment interest in this area and it will no doubt look to Stavridis for help in identifying opportunities, deploying capital and working to create value, the spokesman added.

With at least $18.8 billion raised across Carlyle’s US and Asia buyout funds as of February, Stavridis and co. will not be short of firepower.