Irving Place COO to retire

Gwyneth Ketterer, one of the highest ranking women in private equity, will leave her post as COO at Irving Place Capital, formerly Bear Stearns Merchant Banking.

Gwyneth Ketterer, a partner and chief operating officer of Irving Place Capital, has confirmed that she is retiring from the firm.

Ketterer has been planning to retire for several months, and plans to teach a private equity-focused class at Columbia Business School.

Ketterer was responsible for the management of the Irving Place’s private equity portfolios, strategy, capital raising initiatives and new business development.

She began her career as an M&A analyst at Oppenheimer, where she was the first women hired into her group. After graduating from business school at Columbia, she went to work at Lehman Brothers, where she eventually launched the firm’s private equity arm.

She came to Bear Stearns during the early days of its own private equity arm. When Bear Stearns was acquired by JP Morgan last year, the future of that division appeared uncertain. The division spun off over the summer to become an independent entity, and in November rebranded as Irving Place, the location of important meetings in the firm’s early development as well as the home of chief executive John Howard.

The firm is currently investing a $2.7 billion mid-market fund and a $250 million growth capital fund, both closed in 2006.