KKR to open office in Middle East

US buyouts giant KKR has made its first steps into establishing a presence in the Middle East and North Africa by recruiting sovereign wealth fund specialist Makram Azar from Lehman Brothers.

Azar has joined as managing director and head of Middle East and North Africa (MENA). He will develop the distribution of KKR products in the region and source opportunities for private equity and infrastructure transactions in selected situations. He will also explore global co-investment opportunities with local institutions.

Azar will set up an office for KKR in the region and will begin to recruit professionals to support this new initiative.

Azar spent 18 years at Lehman Brothers, latterly as managing director, global head of sovereign wealth funds and chairman of Media Investment Banking for

Europe & the Middle-East, based in Dubai. Previously he led the media, consumer & retail investment banking businesses of Lehman Brothers in Europe & the Middle-East.