KKR public investor relations head to depart

Jonathan Levin, who was chosen to lead communications with public investors in 2009 as the firm listed on Euronext, is leaving to join hedge fund Grosvenor Capital Management in Chicago.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts’ first-ever head of investor relations is stepping down to join Grosvenor Capital Management in Chicago to lead business development strategy and new products.

A spokesperson with KKR confirmed the move, which was first reported by Bloomberg.

Levin will stay on with KKR through a transition period and could remain with the firm through the next reporting cycle, the spokesperson said. He is joining Grosvenor in Chicago, where he grew up, the spokesperson said.

Levin, who joined KKR in 2004 from Bear Stearns, was appointed head of IR in 2009 just as the firm prepared to list publicly on the Amsterdam-based Euronext exchange. He also became KKR’s first-ever treasurer.

While he led KKR’s efforts to communicate with public investors, Levin did not have a connection with KKR’s fundraising team, a 37-employee group led by Suzanne Donohoe that works on raising the firm’s investment funds, including the recently launched eleventh North American fund.

Levin worked closely with KKR’s chief financial officer Bill Janetschek, who, along with Scott Nuttall and others, also worked on communicating with public investors, including running KKR’s earnings calls.

KKR completed a complicated public listing over a period of several years. The firm in 2009 merged with its Euronext-listed affiliate KKR Private Investors (KPE), the first step on its way to listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Last year, the firm “re-listed” on the NYSE on 15 July 2010, with shares opening at $10.50. KKR shares were trading at $16.55 around midday Monday.

The firm had been eyeing a public listing since 2007, making its intentions known after The Blackstone Group went public. The firm shelved the plans as the financial markets spiraled into chaos but restarted the effort in 2009.