MD Chris Hearn leaves First Reserve to start own shop

Chris Hearn, a managing director on First Reserve’s infrastructure team, has left to start his own energy-focused shop.

Hearn’s profile on LinkedIn changed recently to reflect his new role. It’s not clear when he left First Reserve, which he joined in 2008. A source previously told Buyouts Hearn left earlier this year.

First Reserve will not directly replace Hearn, according to a person with knowledge of the firm. The firm recently promoted Doug Vaccari, who focuses on energy infrastructure, to vice president, and hired Luke O’Keefe, who joined from General Electric’s Energy Financial Services business.

“First Reserve is happy with the current team, both in its size and depth of bench,” said a person with knowledge of the firm.

Meredith Mitchell, a spokeswoman for First Reserve, declined to comment.

Hearn’s new firm, in which he is listed as co-founder, is called Strata Energy Investments. Strata focuses on investments primarily in midstream energy in North America.

Other co-founders are John Shepherd, who joined from GE Energy Financial Services, where he was a managing director, and Robert Wholey, a former managing director at American Capital Energy & Infrastructure.

It’s not clear if Strata is raising a fund or is investing its own money, or if it has completed a deal. Hearn did not return a request for comment.

It’s also not clear if Hearn’s departure from First Reserve triggered a key-man provision in the infrastructure funds.

First Reserve raised $2.5 billion for its second infrastructure fund last year. Mark Florian, managing director and head of infrastructure, leads the group.

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