Haute 100 San Francisco Update: George Roberts

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Our Haute 100 list details the accomplishments of the most influential people in each of our markets—MiamiNew YorkLos Angeles, and San Francisco. These people continue to make moves, so rather than waiting for the next Haute 100 issue to come out, we thought we’d provide you with regular updates on those Haute 100 members who are making headlines. Check back daily for more info on the most powerful people in your city. With more than $54 billion in assets under management, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., co-founded by George Roberts, is bolstering its firm with new hires and partnerships.

George Roberts

Category: Billionaires

Company: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.

Industry: Finance

What Made Him Haute: Roberts is one of the three original partners of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., where he amassed a net worth that ranks him among the wealthiest in the world. In 1989, Roberts led one of the most famous leverage buyouts in the takeover of RJR Nabisco. His involvement in the deal was profiled in the novel and movie Barbarians at the Gate.

What Makes Him Haute Now: Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has hired nine proprietary traders set to begin in January 2011, from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) for an equities unit, led by Bob Howard, that will invest client capital. In launching the group’s first long-short equity hedge fund, KKR is further immersed in stock trading and expanding its asset-management arm.

“This is part of a strategic build out of our asset management platform,” Roberts and Henry Kravis, KKR co-founders, said. “Our goal has been to add new capabilities and exceptional talent that allow us to strengthen our product offering and better service our clients. Bob and his team will be an ideal fit for that objective as we’ve been impressed with their investment experience and performance as well as their ability to manage risk.”

This is Robert’s second connection to Goldman Sachs this year, following the KKR co-founder’s marriage to Goldman Sachs investment banker Linnea Conrad in May.

The private equity firm is also extending its oil and gas strategy, marked by a recently formed partnership with RPM Energy LLC, a privately owned oil and gas exploration and development company, to invest in energy exploration and production. Earlier this month, KKR acquired Chevron’s 23.44 percent minority stake in the Colonial Pipeline Company in partnership with the National Pension Service of Korea. As KKR diversifies its holdings, news has it that KKR is planning an offer for ING Groep NV’s global real estate investment unit. KKR began trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange in July.

Roberts’ private charity, Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF), that he started in 1990 and opened to outside funders nearly a decade ago, received a $3 million, two-year grant from the federal government in July, and will inaugurate its first capital campaign in 2011 to fund a national expansion.

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