Tom Lee hires top talent for firm

The renamed private equity firm of industry pioneer Thomas H. Lee today announced a slew of hirings from Capital Z, Carlyle, JC Penney, Bain & Co., Bain Capital, and Mercer Consulting as Lee Equity Partners gears up to be a major growth-equity player.

Thomas H. Lee is back with a beefed-up operating and transactional talent roster and a renamed private equity firm – Lee Equity Partners.

The founder of Boston-based Thomas H. Lee Partners, who earlier this year severed ties with that private equity firm, today announced a slew of senior professionals to have joined his new firm, based in New York.

Mark Gormley, a founding partner of Capital Z Partners, based in New York, has joined the firm. The firm also brought on board David Morrison, most recently the president and chief executive officer of Mercer Management Consulting. Allen Questrom, a retailing operating executive who has served at the helm of JC Penney, Barneys New York, Federated Department Stores and Neiman Marcus, has joined the firm.

Other appointments include Yoon Jin Kim and Benjamin Hochberg, former principals at Bain Capital, Michael Anderson, a Bain & Co. consultant, and Luke Long, a professional from The Carlyle Group.

In a statement, Questrom said he and Lee had “looked at a number of transactions together over the years”.

A press release noted that Lee Equity will “extend the traditional private equity model with a differentiated approach”. The firm has “interim equity financing” that will enable it to begin investing at once, the release noted.

The firm will make growth equity financings of between $100 million and $500 million, mostly in the US. At the high end of this deal range, Lee Equity may be in direct competition with Thomas H. Lee Partners. However, the recent name change ensures that a direct brand-name competition has been averted – Mr. Lee’s initial firm name was Thomas H. Lee Capital.