Lexington promotes Wilson Warren to president as Brent Nicklas steps back

  • Wilson Warren to be named president
  • Founder Brent Nicklas is stepping back from firm operations
  • Pål Ristvedt to be named co-chair of secondary investment committee

Secondary investor Lexington Partners today will announce the completion of a succession process that will promote Partner Wilson Warren to the role of president, sources said.

Lexington Founder and Chairman Brent Nicklas is expected to announce the change Wednesday. Nicklas, 70, will step back into the role of non-executive chairman. He will continue to be a significant investor in the firm, but will no longer be actively engaged in Lexington’s operations, sources said.

In addition to being named president, Warren, 48, will be co-chair of the firm’s secondary investment committee along with Partner Pål Ristvedt, 49.

Lexington also will announce that Partner Marshall Parke, 66, will become vice chairman.

Warren joined Lexington in 1994 and leads the firm’s U.S. secondary investment activity. Ristvedt, who joined in 2001, and Parke, who joined in 2000, have helped guide Lexington’s non-U.S. activity from London.

Nicklas is one of the pioneers of the private equity secondaries market. Sources said he has been gradually stepping back from daily activity at Lexington for some time. He is not listed as a key executive on the new fund, sources said.

Nicklas founded Lexington in 1994, prior to which he was one of the founders of secondaries shop Landmark Partners. Before, he worked as a vice president of Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, where he specialized in private and public equity investments, according to his biography on Lexington’s website.

The management shift comes as Lexington is in the market with its ninth fund, targeting $12 billion. If Lexington Capital Partners IX hits its target, it will be the largest secondaries fund ever raised. Ardian holds the current record with the $10.8 billion secondaries fund it raised in 2016. Lexington raised $10.1 billion for its eighth fund in 2015.

Fundraising around secondary funds is as strong as it is in the primary market, with $41.5 billion raised in 2017, the biggest haul for secondaries since 2000, according to alternative-assets data provider Preqin.

Nicklas’s move comes at a historic moment in secondaries, a market that firms like Lexington helped develop into a routine way for institutional investors to cash out their interests in illiquid assets. The market continues to break deal-volume records and appears to be on track to do it again this year.

Action Item: Check out Lexington’s Form ADV here: https://bit.ly/2lm9k2p.