MKS loses a partner to KKR(2)

MKS Partners, hailed one of the three big Japanese private equity houses, has lost one of its partners to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has hired Naohiko Kitsuta as a managing director in Japan, where the firm set up an office last year.

Kitsuta joins KKR from MKS Partners, one of the top three local private equity firms in Japan, where he had been a partner since 2001. At MKS, Kitsuta was in charge of leading buyouts in the consumer services and retail sectors, according to a statement.

Kitsuta serves as a director on three MKS portfolio companies:  SSI Corporation, a self-improvement business, LaOX, a household electronics appliances retailer, and Kanebo Trinity Holdings, an everyday consumer goods producer, according to MKS website.

Joseph Bae, KKR’s head of Asia said of the firm’s new hire: “He has an excellent track record in executing buyouts in Japan, which will be of considerable value to the KKR team as we build our business in this region.”

KKR, like Permira, has not yet completed a buyout in Japan, a country which many concede takes time to break. MKS too did not make new investments in 2006.

Prior to joining MKS, Kitsuta was at Boston Consulting Group in Tokyo, advising US companies on how to set up Japanese subsidiaries. Before being a consultant, he worked for the former Bank of Tokyo, also his first job upon graduating from university in 1991.