Former KKR Dealmaker Alex Navab Starts a Private Equity Firm

(Bloomberg) -- Alex Navab, a veteran dealmaker who spent 24 years at KKR & Co., is starting a private equity firm as big investors pour more money into the strategy.

Navab, 53, is setting up shop with former partners at private equity giants including Carlyle Group LP and Warburg Pincus. The new firm, Navab Capital Partners, will invest in industries such as health care, technology, media and financial services in North America, Navab said in an emailed statement.

Big firms have been raising records amounts of capital from investors seeking private-equity’s long-term gains -- a trend that may boost the New York-based startup. Navab is also leveraging a collection of industry veterans to be his partners: Robert Berlin, who previously worked at Baupost Group LLC, Ram Jagannath from Carlyle and Annette Rodriguez, who had been a managing director at Warburg Pincus, have signed on.

“I’m delighted I was able to attract them,” Navab said in an interview. “We’ll be hitting a downturn in the next two years, maybe the next year. We can start investing in an interesting period.”

Navab joined KKR in 1993. He led the Americas private-equity business for nearly a decade, helping the iconic investment firm bring in more than $14 billion. He left the firm two years ago after co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts named Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae co-presidents of the firm.

Georgia Levenson Keohane will also join Navab as managing director to lead the firm’s environmental, social and governance, or ESG, initiatives. Levenson Keohane, who served as the executive director of the Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Foundation, will head Navab Capital’s philanthropic foundation.

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