KKR hires Lehman veteran for MENA expansion

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts has hired Makram Azar, former global head of sovereign wealth funds at Lehman Brothers. Azar will lead its push into the Middle East and North Africa, setting up KKR's first office in the region.

The global buyout firm is setting up operations in the Middle East and North Africa and has recruited Makram Azar as a managing director and head of Middle East and North Africa. In his new role, Azar will source for private equity and infrastructure investment opportunities in selected situations. The firm will also look out for co-investment opportunities with other institutions based in the region.

Azar will set up an office and hire a team for the Middle East and North Africa. The firm has not disclosed yet where this office will be located.

Johannes Huth, head of Europe at KKR, will oversee the expansion of the firm’s activities in the region, a

  Makram Azar

spokeswoman said.

Azar joins KKR from the now bankrupt Lehman Brothers, where he worked for 18 years, most recently as managing director and global head of sovereign wealth funds and chairman of media investment banking for Europe and the Middle East, in Dubai. Prior to that, he headed the media, consumer and retail investment banking businesses of Lehman Brothers in Europe and the Middle East.

This is the third appointment KKR has made in the last two weeks. Last week it hired Simon Hipperson, former chief of Skanska Infrastructure Development, for its infrastructure team, to be based in London. It also appointed Yoshiharu Fukuhara, a domestic corporate veteran, as a senior advisor in Japan.

The firm currently maintains offices in New York, Menlo Park, San Francisco, Houston, London, Paris, Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo and Sydney.