Carlyle taps Wachovia treasurer

The global buyout giant continues its high-profile hiring spree with the addition of James Burr to its financial services unit, which is reportedly raising a fund targeting more than $1bn.

The Carlyle Group has hired Wachovia treasurer James Burr as a managing director in its growing financial services group.

Burr became Wachovia’s corporate treasurer in 2006 after working in various capacities for the beleaguered banking giant since 1992. He is slated to join Carlyle’s New York office on 1 August, where he will assist the firm in sourcing potential investments in the financial services sector.

“[Burr’s] intimate knowledge of the financial services space from an operational and financial perspective will prove invaluable as Carlyle seeks out the best opportunities to deploy capital in the struggling financial services sector,” Oliver Sarkozy, co-head of Carlyle’s global financial services group, said in a statement.

Carlyle is currently raising a financial services fund expected to close with more than $1 billion, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Carlyle could not be reached for comment at press time.

Burr is expected to bolster the Washington DC-based firm’s growing interest in developing a platform capable of capitilising on undervalued financial institutions reeling from credit market dislocations.

The firm founded its 10-member financial services practice last June, tapping Sarkozy from UBS’ investment banking division and David Zwiener form Hartford Financial Services Group.

Sarkozy and fellow Carlyle director Randal Quarles recently co-authored an editorial in the Wall Street Journal imploring regulators to relax ownership limits private equity firms can take in banks and other financial institutions, popular private equity targets since the subprime mortgage crisis sent bank balance sheets into a tailspin. TPG’s and Corsair Capital’s equity infusions in Washington Mutual and National City, respectively, have highlighted the headline-making trend.

Earlier this week, Carlyle’s first publicly released annual report highlighted increased attention towards the financial services sector as one of several strategic adaptations the firm was making in response to a dampening deal-making climate.

Burr’s appointment also provides yet another example of banking and brokerage professionals bolting for private equity. Earlier this year, Carlyle tapped two Citi executives for the firm’s East and Central Asian operations.