KKR recruits Flextronics CEO

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has tapped outgoing Flextronics CEO Michael Marks to join the firm. Marks’ hiring will coincide with the departures of long-time KKR execs Edward Gilhuly and Scott Stuart, who announced their intention to leave the firm in September.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has won over Flextronics’ departing chief executive Michael Marks, appointing the executive as a member of the firm. The hiring follows news from September that long-time KKR partners Edward “Ned” Gilhuly and Scott Stuart would be leaving KKR at year’s end to launch their own investment fund.

KKR hired outgoing Flextronics CEO Michael Marks

Marks’ appointment touches on two key initiatives for the New York-based firm. At Flextronics, which is based in Singapore, Marks was integral in establishing operations in emerging markets, such as China and India. KKR, earlier this fall, unveiled plans to initiate its own Far East presence, and will open offices in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Separately, Marks’ experience at Flextronics, a provider of electronics manufacturing services, should come in useful to KKR, which has recently shown a thirst for technology. At Flextronics, Marks led a growth-through-acquisition strategy, and under his watch the company made over 70 acquisitions.

KKR, meanwhile, has stepped up its activity in the technology space, and in just the past six months has participated in investments in SunGard Data Systems and Avago Technologies.

The firm also bid for UGS PLM Solutions, a company that ultimately went to a consortium of Silver Lake Partners, Warburg Pincus and Bain Capital. In a May interview with BusinessWeek, Silver Lake’s David Roux noted that the group won the auction because of Silver Lake’s technology experience. The Marks hiring could be insurance for KKR that similar outcomes do not repeat themselves.

“Michael Marks is a true visionary,” KKR founding members Henry Kravis and George Roberts said in a joint statement. The pair cited Marks’ “industry contacts” and his “extensive experience across Asia” in the press release.

Marks announced his intention to step down as the Flextronics CEO in May, giving way to current COO Michael McNamara. He took a position as non-executive chairman of the company, a role he will continue to occupy while at KKR.