Vestar pro defects to Centerview

David Hooper, a Vestar Capital managing director, has left to join former Gillette chairman James Kilts in running the private equity division for the upstart financial services firm.

Centerview Partners, the recently formed New York investment banking boutique, has hired David Hooper away from private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners.

Hooper will oversee Centerview’s private equity business, along with James Kilts, the former chairman, chief executive and president of Gillette, a division of Procter & Gamble.

At Vestar Capital, Hooper specialized in consumer investing and was chairman of the US investment committee. Centerview Partners will “focus its private equity investment activities in consumer-oriented companies”, according to a press release. Prior to Vestar Capital, Hooper held senior positions at The Blackstone Group and Drexel Burnham Lambert.

Centerview was founded by Kilts, Stephen Crawford, the former co-president of Morgan Stanley, Blair Effron, the former vice chairman of UBS and Robert Pruzan, the former CEO of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein North America and president of Wasserstein Perella. The firm also manages an investment banking advisory practice.

Vestar lost its co-founder, Prakash Melwani, in 2003 when he joined The Blackstone Group as a senior partner.

In January, Vestar held a final close on $3.7 billion for its fifth private equity fund.