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Carl Stanton, Invesco’s head of the WL Ross business, leaves firm

The WL Ross & Co. domestic private equity business that Invesco acquired in 2006 appears to be going away and the future focus will be on Asia, sources told Buyouts.

Carl Stanton, who Invesco hired last February to run its private equity business, including its WL Ross group, left the firm this month after he said he resigned. “Invesco and Carl Stanton mutually agreed that his role did not fit with the future direction of our business,” Invesco spokeswoman Jeaneen Terrio said. 

Another of Invescos heads of the private capital business, Greg Stoeckle, will step down from daily leadership next year, Terrio said. The other chief, Stephen Toy, is now leading private equity and will remain with the business, continuing his focus on Asia, she said.

Stoeckle and Toy took over daily operations of WL Ross & Co. in 2014 when Wilbur Ross stepped down from day-to-day management of the firm. 

While the domestic private equity activities of the group are winding down, the unit will continue to pursue new opportunities in Asia, credit/distressed investments and venture capital, the person close to the firm said.

Stanton was brought on to expand the firm’s existing private equity focus to include opportunistic buyouts and special situations, according to a statement at the time. The domestic activities of the firm’s WL Ross unit were rolled into Stanton’s group at the time, the statement said. WL Ross was formed in 2000 by Wilbur Ross, who became Commerce Secretary under President Donald Trump in 2017. 

Stanton worked at Wellspring Capital Management for more than 18 years, most recently as managing partner before leaving the firm, according to his LinkedIn profile. He said he will continue working in the industry, initially focusing on growing smaller GPs.  

Stanton said he joined Invesco to accomplish several goals, including reorganizing the former WL Ross investment activities; building a value creation plan for the legacy WLR portfolio; and launching a new Invesco domestic private equity effort. 

The first two goals were accomplished—WLR’s former investment activities were split into four categories: traditional private equity, WLR Asia, distressed credit and venture capital. Stanton and his team also built liquidity plans for legacy investments, some going back as far as 2002, Stanton said. 

The team was building out a new private equity focus domestically for more than a year, but recently stopped looking for new opportunities, he said, likely in line with Invesco’s decision to focus solely on Asia.

The group also considered a liquidity process on WL Ross Fund IV, which closed on about $4 billion in 2008, and was working with Lazard on a potential secondary process, Buyouts previously reported. Its not clear if a transaction ever got done.

Invesco also made a big move into the retail investment world when it closed its acquisition of OppenheimerFunds from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. in May.  

Update: This report was updated to include information that Stephen Toy is now leading private equity. 

Action Item: Check out WL Ross’s Form ADV: https://bit.ly/2lWAAYY