KKR adds three more to European credit team

KKR has hired three senior executives to strengthen its European platform Pillarstone, which looks to invest in non-performing loans that banks across the continent are holding on their balance sheets.


New hires will work across the European portfolio, supporting the firm’s existing platforms in Italy and Greece

Pillarstone, which was set up in September 2015 by the credit arm of the US private equity giant, has hired Jonathan Conway, formerly Barclays’ Emea head of restructuring, and Pablo Crespo, a former director from London-based private equity firm AnaCap, as partners, according to a statement.

Pillarstone has also hired Michele Sabatini as a director from London private equity house Bregal Capital. The trio will be based in Pillarstone’s London office, which is led by chief executive John Davison.

The new hires will work across the European portfolio, supporting the firm’s existing platforms in Italy and Greece as well as exploring opportunities for expansion into new countries.

The appointments come after the firm signed an agreement with the two largest banks in Greece, Alpha Bank and Eurobank, to lend to underperforming companies. Pillarstone is already active in both Italy and Greece, and is looking at opportunities to expand the platform in other European countries.

The Pillarstone team in Italy consists of about 15 staff members. A similarly sized team is being built up in Greece, according to the statement.

KKR wants to double the size of its $ 36 billion credit arm over the next five years, it said in May, after bolstering its team with the appointments of Mark Craig, a former managing director at Evercore’s debt advisory business, and Varun Khanna, who joined the firm from Deutsche Bank’s direct lending team in May.

KKR created Pillarstone to target investments in the €1.9 trillion market for underperforming and non-core asset loans that are being housed on the balance sheets of European banks. Capital for these deals comes from a combination of KKR’s second $ 3.35 billion special situations vehicle and a number of KKR credit funds.

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