RLJ Equity picks up Carlyle veteran

The Robert Johnson firm has named Rufus Rivers as a new managing director.

RLJ Equity Partners has named Rufus Rivers its new managing director, said RLJ Companies, the firm’s parent company. Rivers will direct the firm’s fundraising, deal sourcing and portfolio management operations.

Rivers joins the firm from global giant The Carlyle Group, where he was a managing director. He was also the co-head of Carlyle Mezzanine Partners, a $436 million fund that makes private debt and equity investments in middle-market companies, the firm said in a statement.

Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) and the head of RLJ Companies, partnered with Carlyle to pursue co-investment opportunities in December of 2005. Together, Carlyle and RLJ Equity make media, financial services and business services investments.

Based in Bethesda, Maryland, RLJ Equity added other members to its team last year. Daphne Dufresne, formerly a venture partner at fund of funds manager Parish Capital Advisors, became a managing director. Alan Nichols, formerly an executive vice president and chief financial officer under Johnson at BET, also joined the firm as a managing director.