KKR creates asset management division

Former TCW president William Sonneborn has been named head of KKR Asset Management as well as chief executive of NYSE-listed KKR Financial, which is one of the largest lenders to Sam Zell’s now-bankrupt Tribune.

William Sonneborn, who joined Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in July, has been appointed chief executive officer of KKR Financial, the firm’s NYSE-listed debt investment arm. Sonneborn has also been named head of the newly created KKR Asset Management, in a reshuffle which sees the departure of two senior executives.

Saturnio Fanlo, the former head of KKR Fixed Income, KKR Financial and KKR Strategic Capital Management, has left the firm, as has KKR Fixed Income chief operating officer David Netjes, according to a statement.

No further details on the nature of Fanlo’s and Netjes’ departures were given and KKR was not available to comment at press time.

Michael McFerran, currently the chief financial officer of KKR Fixed Income, will act as chief operating officer for KKR Financial on an interim basis.

KKR Asset Management will absorb KKR’s fixed income business, as well as some other non private equity-related businesses, such as mezzanine financing.

Prior to joining KKR, Sonneborn was president of TCW Group, an investment management firm with $130 billion under management.

KKR Fixed Income – now part of KKR Asset Management – was formed in June when majority-owned subsidiary KKR Financial and the external management company for both KKR Financial Holdings and the KKR Strategic Capital Funds became wholly-owned by KKR. The group was rebranded KKR Fixed Income.

KKR Financial last month suspended its third quarter dividend payment, despite turning a profit. It is one of the largest lenders to Sam Zell’s now-bankrupt buyout of Tribune Company.