Carlyle Group promotes new CIO as firm's chief executive drills down on efficiency
A few months after former Goldman executive Harvey Schwartz became the new CEO of $381 billion private equity and alternative investment firm Carlyle Group, he is beginning to fill out his leadership team with some new faces.
Today Carlyle promoted Menlo Park-based Lúcia Soares as Chief Information Officer and head of technology transformation, effective immediately. The announcement follows another made just a few weeks ago—that head of global financial services John Redett will become CFO and head of corporate strategy this fall, succeeding CFO Curt Buser, who is retiring from the firm.
“I think it’s the beginning of a new chapter for us to look at new opportunities for growth,” Soares, a former Johnson & Johnson vice president who first joined Carlyle in 2019, says of what it’s been like to work under Schwartz these past few months. “It’s been an infusion of new energy and new possibility.”
Soares’ position isn’t new, though it has been vacant for two years since the passing of former CIO Michael Haas in June 2021, with interim leadership overseeing the responsibilities.
Soares has spent the last two years working with the management teams of the investment firm’s portfolio, helping them use technology—things like automation and data analytics—to help drive revenue or cut costs. She and Carlyle’s Redett, have served on a board together at insurance company Hilb Group—where Soares says she advised them to consolidate their tech system, which she says both saved $5 million and, later, drove $2 million in revenue in the last six months after the company started leveraging data analytics. Now, she says, she’s expanding her focus beyond the portcos to her employer—using technology to make Carlyle more efficient as an organization.
Efficiency is a key priority for Schwartz, who said on his first earnings call for Carlyle in May that he has been a “believer in disciplined growth” throughout his career and that, as Carlyle grows, his team is “working to identify areas where we can instill more discipline around our operations.” When companies use words like “efficiency,” particularly in a down market, that can also sometimes translate into job cuts and hiring freezes. When asked whether there could be job cuts at Carlyle in the future, a Carlyle spokeswoman pointed to the following statement from the firm’s first-quarter earnings:
“While we expect to see top line fee growth this year, we also expect to see continued investments into our teams and businesses. We will be disciplined managing our expenses while, at the same time, ensuring the firm is well positioned to grow over time.”
It’s worth mentioning that Schwartz is under pressure to grow the firm and improve Carlyle’s lagging performance. Carlyle’s previous CEO, Kewsong Lee, abruptly resigned last summer. While the private equity markets are challenging for everyone right now, Carlyle has fallen behind several of its peers, and the company’s last earnings fell short of estimates (“Let me be clear, we’re not pleased with our first quarter results,” Schwartz said in May about the first quarter). But the company’s share price has been on the upswing since then, now trading for more than $34, up nearly 12% since May.
For her part, Soares has driven $250 million in what Carlyle calls “value creation” since her arrival to the firm—private equity shorthand for avoiding or cutting costs and finding ways to drive up revenue growth. Soares, who will report to COO Chris Finn, and also work closely with Redett, Schwartz, and Chief Information Security Officer Bethany De Lude, says she will be focused on how to grow and expand Carlyle’s tech stack—particularly around infrastructure, automation, and data innovation. That will entail working with both big tech companies and the “niche innovators,” she says, for things such as exploring pilot programs.
A.I., of course, will be something Soares is looking at, she says, pointing out how, when she worked in healthcare, she looked at how machine learning algorithms and data science could improve patient outcomes. At the same time, she says she is wary that “there’s a lot of cycles and trends in tech, and so we don’t want to exaggerate and assume that everything we’re going to do is going to be in A.I and ML.”
Soares, who was born and raised in Silicon Valley, says she will stay in Menlo Park for the new role, though she will continue to travel regularly.
“I love to be in the middle of the mix and close to the technology innovation,” she says.
See you tomorrow,
Jessica MathewsTwitter: @jessicakmathewsEmail: [email protected] a deal for the Term Sheet newsletter here.
Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.
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