Carlyle Group CEO Kewsong Lee is stepping down only five months before the scheduled end of his five-year contract.
According to a statement released Sunday, the private equity company and Lee mutually agreed not to renew the contract.
According to a statement released Sunday, the private equity company and Lee mutually agreed not to renew his contract that was due to finish at the end of 2022.
Co-founder Bill Conway will serve as interim CEO while Carly searches for a new CEO. Lee also stepped down as a board member, Carlyle said.
Lee’s surprising exit comes 18 months after Carlyle announced a new strategic plan. Private equity firms are struggling facing economic and geopolitical risks and rising interest rates.
According to Reuters, Conway sent a separate memo to staff saying the firm had set up a CEO office consisting of key senior leaders.
Carly reported better results than other private equity firms. However, its share price growth lagged in the last five years. Blackstone’s shares have increased more than three times since August 2017 while Carlyle’s has grown about 80%.
Lee was made co-CEO of the firm in 2017 before assuming the title solely in 2020.