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Private Equity

BlackRock global head of private equity Russ Steenberg stepping back

Russ Steenberg, who founded BlackRock’s $41.9 billion private equity group, will become chairman of the business and hand over the day-to-day operations to Lynn Baranski and Johnathan Seeg, BlackRock executives told employees in a memo Thursday reviewed by Pensions & Investments.

Mr. Steenberg, a 40-year veteran, began investing in private equity at AT&T’s pension fund and then Fenway Partners. In 1999, Merrill Lynch Investment Managers hired him to build a global private equity platform for direct investments, secondary transactions and primary funds known as Private Equity Partners. He continued to lead Private Equity Partners when BlackRock acquired Merrill Lynch Investment Managers in 2006.

“Under his leadership, PEP has built upon the best practices of leading pension funds and endowment private equity programs, developing an extensive network of general partner (GP) relationships that would provide a critical foundation for PEP’s ongoing success,” Edwin Conway, the global head of BlackRock Alternative Investors, and Rob Kapito, president of BlackRock, said in the memo.

Ms. Baranaski and Mr. Seeg will take over Jan. 1. Ms. Baranski is global head of investments at the private equity unit, while Mr. Seeg is global head of client solutions and strategy there. Both are managing directors.

“As Chairman, Russ will continue to serve on PEP’s Investment Committees, in addition to continuing to play a vital role in client and GP relationships as well as other strategic priorities,” the memo said.

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