PE HUB Wire Highlights, 7.9.19


private equity
Private Equity Editor Chris Witkowsky reflects at home. Photo by Wendy Witkowsky

PE world shocked by death of Alex Navab, Another single-asset process in secondary land

Happy Tuesday!

This is Chris, on the Wire for Luisa. She’ll be back tomorrow.
Shocking: PE land was shocked yesterday when news broke that Alex Navab, former senior executive at KKRdied on Sunday while on holiday in Greece with his family. He was 53. Navab had recently been out networking for his debut fund, which was expected to target $3 billion. Several folks I talked to yesterday recently met with Navab about his new firm, called Navab Capital Partners.

I just had dinner with him, one source told me. “He looked good, he had lost weight,” the source said. Navab had a health scare in the past, diagnosed with heart arrhythmia, or an irregular heart beat, in 2013 after he collapsed at an investor meeting.

Navab was born in Iran and emigrated with his family from Iran to Greece, and then to the U.S. in the early 1980s, according to the Ellis Island Medal of Honor database. Navab was awarded the medal in 2016. He joined KKR in 1993 and rose to lead the firm’s private equity business in the Americas.

Outside of his professional career, Navab served on the board of trustees at New York-Presbyterian HospitalThe Robin Hood Foundation; and on the executive committee at The Hellenic Initiative.

It’s not clear what will become of Navab Capital, which was just getting off the ground. Navab had been logging hefty miles meeting with potential investors. The big question in the market was whether he’d be able to reach $3 billion or more once the firm hit the market with its debut pool. Even for a big name like Navab, raising a first-time fund is a challenge.

In light of Navab’s death, the future of his firm is unclear. “Without him it’ll be hard, he was the main attraction,” a separate source told me.

Navab had amassed some heavy investment talent, bringing on as partners Robert Berlin from Baupost GroupRam Jagannath from Carlyle Group and ex-Warburg Pincus Managing Director Annette Rodriguez. He had also put together a formidable back office with Partner and Chief Financial Officer Mark Schroeder from Deloitte, where he was a senior M&A partner, and ex-KKR executives Bhavna Vashisht Katkar as chief administrative officer and head of human capital and Michael Gaviser as head of capitalraising and investor relations.

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