Carlyle makes Major move

John Major will be the firm's European chairman. Christopher Finn explains why, and looks at other developments inside the firm.

John Major has been appointed Chairman of Carlyle Europe, the European arm of international private equity and asset management firm The Carlyle Group.

Major, who has sat on the firm’s European Advisory Board for the past three years, will be chairing Carlyle’s European private equity funds and their advisory boards. His brief further includes to advise Carlyle’s senior European investment professionals. Major is also expected to sit on the boards of Carlyle portfolio companies and serve on the firm’s Asia Advisory Board.

Major described Carlyle as a world class organisation and said he was looking forward to get more closely involved with the firm which in Europe has offices in Frankfurt, Barcelona, Milan, Paris, London, Munich and Madrid.

“I have enjoyed my time in politics but it is now time to move on. Carlyle is pre-eminent as a private equity firm and I have greatly enjoyed working with them over the past few years.”

Chris Finn, managing director in Carlyle's London office says the group has incrementally grown in Europe over the past five years, as it previously did in the US. Having started with buyouts across the continent, added early stage technology and most recently property, Carlyle had reached a point where it made sense to give the European arm a structure similar to the one adopted in the US.

“We have now reached critical mass throughout Europe. John Major is perfectly suited to the function of chairman of Carlyle Europe, and we're delighted that he can step into that role. As he's done in the past, he provides us a lot of advise on a wide variety variety of issues – geographic, political and sectoral, not just in Europe, but on a global basis”, said Finn.

The news follows a string of high profile appointments Carlyle has made in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the firm announced that William Kennard, the former chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), was to join the group as managing director for media and telecommunications.

Carlyle has also announced that Arthur Levitt has signed up as special private equity advisor. Levitt was previously chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US.

Carlyle manages more than $13bn of equity capital worldwide.

In Europe, acquisitions made by the firm's Buyout Fund include Andritz (Austria), Groupe Genoyer (France), Honsel (Germany), Otor (France) and Riello (Italy). In addition it has made significant investments in Beru (Germany), Lafarge Speciality Materials (France), Le Figaro (France), and Digiplex (Pan-European).

The European Venture Capital Fund has made 16 investments to date in the following sectors: communications technology and services, software infrastructure, online services and online financial services.