KKR appoints Italian business veteran

The appointment of Gianemilio Osculati is the firm’s latest in a series of high profile hires as it builds towards a listing on NYSE.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has hired Gianemilio Osculati, an Italian business consulting veteran, to be its senior adviser in the country. Osculati will work with KKR’s country head Mattia Caprioli with a focus on sourcing Italian investment opportunities.

Co-founder of KKR Henry Kravis pointed to Osculati’s “unique network and relationships” as being an important reason for the hire, adding that his contacts would “bring significant value to [the firm’s] business and enhance KKR’s franchise in this market”.

KKR, which ranks fourth in the latest PEI50, has been recruiting heavily recently as the firm bulks up ahead of its intended listing on the New York Stock Exchange.

In September the firm hired Makram Azar from collapsing bank Lehman Brothers to establish a presence in the Middle East and North Africa. Azar’s appointment was the third senior hire in a period of just two weeks, following the hiring of Skanska’s Simon Hipperson to KKR’s infrastructure team and Yoshiharu Fukuhara as a senior adviser in Japan.

However, the firm, which has been building up its infrastructure investment capabilities, suffered the setback of the departure of George Bilicic earlier this week. Bilicic, who had been brought in just six months ago to head up the infrastructure team, is understood to have left due to differences over how the firm should build its infrastructure offering. He is now to return to Lazard, where he will resume his position as head of its energy, utilities and infrastructure practice.

KKR's hiring spree was reflected in an SEC filing in September, in which the firm reported an increase in its wage bill of around 80 percent to $92 million, due to “higher incentive compensation reflecting [its] improved financial performance during 2007”.

KKR is still pushing ahead with plans – announced in July – to acquire its Euronext-listed vehicle KKR Private Equity Investors and subsequently list the combined entity on the New York Stock Exchange before the end of the year.