Carlyle hires former FCC chairman

William Kennard, former chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, will join The Carlyle Group in May.

William Kennard, the former chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will join the Carlyle Group as managing director for media and telecommunications.

Kennard was FCC chairman from November 1997 to February 2001.

The move indicates Carlyle is building up its ambitions in the telecoms sector.

It is not alone – private equity is taking on the telkecoms as never before, particularly in Europe, where many telecoms are struggling against high debts and low share prices and are desperate to unload assets.

Apax and Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst head a consortium to buy Yell, British Telecommunications’s (BT) online directory for about £3bn, George Soros is involved in a private equity consortium looking to buy Eircom, the Irish ex-monopoly telecom, and GE Capital Telecom has just ploughed $388m into NTL, a UK cable operator.

Carlyle has raised about $13bn in 12 funds and has a high-profile crew on board. Earlier this week, it hired Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a senior adviser. And last month, Afsaneh Beschloss, former treasurer and chief investment officer at the World Bank, also joined up.