Carlyle consumer & retail star is first woman to co-lead buyouts

  • Sandra Horbach joined firm in 2005 from Forstmann Little
  • Horbach built up consumer and retail team at the firm
  • Allan Holt moves to chairman roll


Sandra Horbach, a managing director who launched Carlyle Group’s Consumer & Retail strategy and will now co-lead buyouts, led an almost 4x return on Vogue International in a deal expected to close later this year.

With a record of strong performance, Horbach is set to step into the role of co-head of Carlyle’s buyouts group, the first woman to do so in the firm’s history.

Horbach succeeds Allan Holt, who moves into the new post of chairman of U.S. Buyout and chairman of the investment committee for Carlyle’s U.S. buyout funds. Horbach will lead the buyout group alongside co-head Peter Clare.

“I am honored by this opportunity and eager to serve our investors in this important role,” Horbach said in a statement.

When Horbach won her new position, Bill Conway, co-CEO of Carlyle Group, said internally: “She got the job because she’s a great investor and she happens to be a woman,” according to a source.

Jay Sammons, managing director, succeeds Horbach as head of Consumer & Retail.

Track record

In 2005 Horbach was recruited to Carlyle from Forstmann Little & Co by fellow Forstmann alumnus Daniel Akerson. Over the past 11 years, she hired the key members of the Consumer & Retail team, sourced deals and oversaw negotiations on all its transactions, the source said.

Among her more recent deals, she led a nearly 4x return on the buyout of Vogue International, maker of OGX shampoo, which Carlyle is selling to Johnson & Johnson for $3.3 billion, the source said.

Beats Electronics, the maker of headphones launched by musician Dr Dre, marked another large gain for Carlyle’s Consumer & Retail team under Horbach. Carlyle acquired a minority stake in 2013 and exited through a $3 billion sale to Apple Inc in 2014.

She also steered other U.S. consumer investments, including Acosta Sales & Marketing, CVC Brasil Operadora e Agencia de Viagens SA, Dunkin’ Brands and NBTY.

Among other key female executives at Carlyle Group, Lauren Dillard is managing director and head of Carlyle’s Investment Solutions Group. Adena Friedman was chief financial officer from 2011 to 2014 before joining Nasdaq as chief operating officer.  

Horbach has worked on an internal employee resource group dedicated to women, where she mentors employees.

Action Item: Carlyle’s announcement:

Photo of Sandra Horbach courtesy of Carlyle Group