KKR hires senior advisor for Brazil

Former Brazil central bank chief Henrique Meirelles will help the firm expand into Brazil’s rapidly growing private equity market.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts boosted its efforts to expand its business into Brazil by appointing a former Governor of the Central Bank of Brazil as a senior advisor, the firm announced in a statement.

In his new role at KKR, Henrique Meirelles will be tasked with generating new relationships with limited partners, sourcing deals and working with portfolio companies, said a market source. Prior to joining the firm, Meirelles was the chief of Brazil’s central bank from 2003 to 2010. He had previously been the president and chief operating officer of BankBoston Corporation’s Brazilian arm, and is currently the chairman of J&F Participações, the parent company of beef producer JBS. 

“Today’s announcement is an exciting step in building our presence in Brazil and a reflection of our long-term interest in Latin America,” said Alex Navab, the co-head of KKR’s North American private equity business. Navab was instrumental in Meirelles’ appointment, according to the source, and has been spearheading the firm’s expansion into Brazilian and Latin American markets. 

KKR was unavailable for further comment. 

The private equity industry developed a strong interest in Brazil over the last several years, particularly as economic and consumer sector growth in the country remained robust despite a slowdown in US and European markets. 

Several firms, including 3i, Partners Group and Pantheon have hired Latin American heads or opened offices in the region in the last 18 months. 

KKR has actively marketed its funds in the region in the past, having been one of the largest US firms to attract interest from Chilean public pensions. The firm made an arrangement with Chilean asset manager Celfin Capital – now a subsidiary of BTG Pactual – to co-invest along with its 2006 flagship fund. Celfin also directed commitments to KKR’s 11th fund through a feeder fund structure launched in 2010.