Morgan Stanley hires operating partner

The firm’s global private equity division has hired James Howland as it forges ahead with its return to the asset class.

Former Dun & Bradstreet president, James Howland, is the latest addition to Morgan Stanley Private Equity’s swelling team. Starting in April, he will be a managing director and operating partner.

In addition to leading D&B, Howland was previously chief executive of the Edison Schools’ Educational Services Group and the Americas division of Regus Business Centers.

Based in New York, he will be responsible for growing the private equity division’s corporate investment and acquisition opportunities.

“[His] management expertise and focus on operational excellence will enhance our ability to anticipate market opportunities and create value,” Steve Trevor, co-head of both Morgan Stanley Private Equity and Morgan Stanley Investment Management, said in a statement.

Howland joins Gary Matthews as Morgan Stanley’s second operating partner; Matthews was hired in October, and has led several private equity-backed companies and public company business units including Simmons Bedding and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The additions are part of a global staff increase as Morgan Stanley renews its commitment to private equity and raises a $6 billion global buyout fund.

The division, led by Trevor and Alan Jones, is building upon the foundations left by Morgan’s previous in-house buyout group, which it spun out as Metalmark Capital three years ago, and has subsequently been purchased by Citi.