Morganthaler, Apax Staff Up

While some private equity houses seem to be pruning their staffs, others are beefing up their ranks.

First up is Morganthaler, which is expected to announce today that Krish Prabhu, former chief operating officer of Alcatel, is joining the firm as a venture partner. A few months ago, Prabhu was considered to be the next most logical successor to current Alcatel Chairman and Chief Executive Serge Tchurukb, who is slated to step down from his post at an as-yet-undetermined time. Prabhu, however, said he wasn’t ready to move his family to France and, instead of stepping up to take the helm at the telecommunications giant, decided to try his hand at private equity.

In his new role at Morganthaler, Prabhu will be responsible for identifying, nurturing and helping guide early-stage technology companies, particularly those in the communications arena. For the time being, he will work out of his home in Dallas.

The firm’s general partner and namesake Gary Morgenthaler said Prabhu “brings with him a level of business insight that will benefit our existing and future portfolio companies immeasurably. It’s hard to overstate our excitement at welcoming Krish into our partnership.”

Prabhu began his career with Bell Labs in 1980 and joined Alcatel in 1991, serving as COO from October 1999 to August 2001. Previously, Prabhu was Alcatel USA’s chief executive, where he was responsible for growing the company’s U.S. business. He also has held a number of executive and research and development positions at Rockwell International and Bell Labs. He currently sits on Alcatel’s board of directors.

Morganthaler isn’t alone, though. Apax Partners last week announced its second major hire in less than a month, signing on Alexander Wong as a partner in the IT/Telecom group. Wong, who will specialize in semiconductor, optical and emerging technology investments, was formerly a managing director of technology investments at Intel Capital.

“Bringing him on board underscores our commitment to hiring individuals with deep domain expertise,” said George Phipps, a general partner with Apax.

Last month, Apax Partners named Steven St. Peter, M.D. as a principal in a move to bolster its health-care group. Dr. St. Peter was formerly a senior associate with The Carlyle Group, where he focused on both health-care buyouts and venture investing. Earlier this year, the firm hired Dr. Eliot Charles as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Charles originally hails from the pharmaceutical firm Genentech Inc.

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