There were two resounding themes that resonated with PEO readers throughout February: limited partner developments and high-profile departures.
At the end of the month, PEO was first among media outlets to break news of the resignation of Réal Desrochers, director of alternative investments for the $119 billion California State Teachers' Retirement System. His resignation ended an 11-year run managing CalSTRS' powerful private equity portfolio, and 22 years of private equity investing on behalf of public pensions.
“I'm not sure Réal will ever truly retire, he has investments in his blood,” Christopher Ailman, CalSTRS' chief investment officer, wrote in an internal email obtained by PEO. While we weren't yet able to report where Desrochers might be headed next, it would be surprising not to see him pop up in a powerful private equity position in the not-so-distant future.
The same can be said for RobertWages, who after just two years left his role as director of private equity for the Abu Dhabi Investment Company; and for John Barber, who ended a 14-year career with Citi, the last nine of which were spent steering Citi Private Equity.
Others who have recently parted ways with firms to “pursue other interests” include 16-year TPG veteran Justin Chang; Kevin Wang, a China-focused GP at the Asian Natixis affiliate; and the head of Gresham Private Equity's London office,Mike Henebery. And let's not forget the departure of the Dubai International Capital deal-makers Sylvain Denis and Alan Hyslop as the state-backed investor shifts its focus to managing its existing portfolio rather than finding fresh deals.
So far, only HarbourVest's Hemal Mirani has quickly re-emerged from a resignation, taking an investor relations position at CVC Asia Pacific. But expect PEO to follow all of these industry figures as their careers – and in some cases, market turbulence – lead them down different paths.
Likewise, PEO is closely watching limited partners as their relationships with private equity firms evolve. While we don't report on institutional investors' every move, we do cherry pick the most salient ones in a private equity context, such as the $45.4 billion Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System's cancellation of hundreds of millions in commitments to firms including Cerberus Capital, HgCapital and Apollo Management.
Such stories are indicative of a possible power shift between LPs and GPs, which Carlyle Group co-founder David Rubenstein addressed last month. The private equity landscape at present is characterised by LPs plagued by over-weighted private equity programmes and backfiring over-commitment strategies. These issues, and particularly GPs' need for LPs with liquidity, will no doubt continue to be a hot topic on PEO in the months to come.