Lightyear nabs 20-year Goldman vet

Chris Casciato, former partner in Goldman Sachs’ Financial Institutions Group, will source and execute deals for the New York firm’s current $850 million fund.

Lightyear Capital has hired away senior Goldman Sachs partner Chris Casciato to originate and execute investments for its second financial services-focussed buyout fund, which closed last March on $850 million.

“Joining Lightyear is the right move for me at this moment in my career. It is a top-notch, industry-leading firm with a compelling investment thesis, a deep pool of financial services expertise from top to bottom, and a track record of generating returns for its limited partners,” Casciato said in a statement.  “It is exactly the environment I have been seeking, and I look forward to applying my range of experience as we continue building on that success.”

It is exactly the environment I've been seeking…

Chris Casciato

The 49-year old Casciato was at Goldman for more than 20 years. He became a partner in 2000, and in addition to his most recent role as partner in the bank’s Financial Institutions Group, Casciato has held several very senior management positions at Goldman including global chief operating officer of Investment Banking, group head of the Latin America Investment Banking, COO of Goldman Sachs India and COO of the Real Estate Department. 

“This is a meaningful addition for Lightyear as Chris significantly augments our financial services experience, relationships, and reputation,” Donald Marron, Lightyear chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. 

Lightyear managing director Mark Vassallo added: “We have worked with Chris for several years, notably on our successful sale of Collegiate Funding Services to JPMorgan Chase in 2006, and are thrilled to add him as a managing director.” Vassallo noted that Casciato’s international experience and perspective will greatly benefit the firm.

Lightyear manages approximately $3 billion in capital. In October 2007, it did its first UK deal with the $250 million acquisition of the British operations of German insurance company Württembergische Versicherung. The resulting ‘new’ company is called Antares and is part of UK insurance market Lloyd’s of London syndicate.