FROM CAPITOL HILL TO PRIVATE CAPITAL

Vice President Al Gore. Treasury Secretary John Snow. Vice President Dan Quayle. Republican party chairman Ken Mehlman.

These names are just a small selection of the steadily growing number of former politicians from both sides of the aisle to leave Capitol Hill for the greener pastures of private equity.

As the industry confronts the dual challenges of professionalising its internal operations and improving its public image, firms as disparate in investment strategy and corporate culture as Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (Gore) and Cerberus Capital Management (Snow, Quayle) are recruiting top-tier political talent to assist in regulatory matters and public relations.

Multi-strategy firm The Carlyle Group has added to its own roster of former public officials with the hiring of President Bush's economic advisor Bryan Corbett as part of its global government and regulatory affairs team based in Washington DC. He will advise Carlyle on issues surrounding Carlyle acquisitions.

“I'm familiar with the deal process, how it works, and what it takes,” Corbett says. “For the last five years, I have spent every day dealing with banking and financial regulations.”

Since 2006, Corbett has been special assistant to the President for economic policy and senior advisor to Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt. Corbett also served as majority counsel on the Senate Banking Committee.

In a somewhat ironic twist, Corbett will jump from working for the leader of the Republican Party to working for Carlyle's other high-profile political hire – Bill Clinton's former trade advisor, Ken Marchick.

Carlyle hired Marchick in October last year as managing director of its regulatory division.

Although Corbett and Marchick's primary responsibilities will be on the regulatory side, they will also be charged with combating some of the negative stigma attached to the industry by sections of Capitol Hill and the mainstream media.

Corbett believes that Carlyle must be hands-on in enhancing the public's understanding of private equity.

“Generally, our approach is to be proactive by educating the legislature as much as possible. It's essential to get out there and talk to people,” he says.

ECONOMIST CEO TO ADVISE BAIN CAPITAL
Helen Alexander, The Economist Group's chief executive, is stepping down at the company's annual general meeting on 15 July to become an adviser to Bain Capital. Alexander joined The Economist as marketing manager in 1985, and later ran its international circulation and Economist Intelligence units. In 1997, she was named chief executive of the London-based political- and economy-focussed magazine. Over the past five years, the operating profit of The Economist Group has increased by 75 percent and the circulation of The Economist has increased by nearly 50 percent to 1,306,939. Alexander will continue as a nonexecutive director of Centrica, an energy supplier, and Rolls-Royce Group, an engineering firm.

JUILLIARD ENDOWMENT ENDS CIO SEARCH
The Juilliard School, an elite performing arts conservatory established in 1905, has hired David Marcus to oversee investment of its $760 million (€484 million) endowment. Juilliard, located in Manhattan, allocates roughly 7 percent of its portfolio to private equity. Marcus has spent the last decade as a managing director at the $3.7 billion endowment of Dartmouth College, a liberal arts university in New Hampshire which has a 15 percent allocation to private equity. In 2006, Dartmouth's endowment earned an annual composite return of 19.6 percent. Marcus began his new role as Juilliard's chief investment director on 1 May. He is the performing arts school's secondever CIO. Its first, former Wesleyan University alternatives head Colin Ambrose, left Julliard last year for a position at New Providence Asset Management.

FORMER REFCO OWNER FACES LIFE IN PRISON
Former Refco owner Tone Grant has been convicted of five felony counts of fraud and conspiracy for his part in a $2.4 billion (€1.5 billion) accounting scandal that defrauded private equity firm Thomas H Lee Partners. Grant, 64, faces the possibility of life in prison after being convicted of one count each of securities fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. A jury in Manhattan federal court found Grant guilty of misleading TH Lee about the true financial health of Refco during the Boston-based buyout group's $2.4 billion acquisition of the commodities broker in 2004. Grant reaped $16 million in proceeds from the buyout.

ODYSSEY PROMOTES EIGHT
New York-based Odyssey Investment Partners has concluded a wave of internal promotions, elevating eight employees to higher positions within the firm. Cofounders William Hopkins and Brian Kwait have been named copresidents, although they will continue to serve as managing principals. Alongside chairman Stephen Berger, Hopkins and Kwait helped establish the firm in 1997. Principals Jeffrey McKibben and Craig Staub will become managing principals; vice presidents Robert Aikman and Ross Rodrigues will become principals; and associates Dennis Moore and Matthew Satnick have been named vice presidents. Odyssey currently manages $1.5 billion (€949 million) in capital across two private equity funds.