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Here’s How Much The New Co-CEOs Of KKR Are Worth

By News Creatives Authors , in Billionaires , at October 11, 2021

Scott Nuttall and Joe Bae, the successors to Henry Kravis and George Roberts as co-CEOs of private equity giant KKR, have been on parallel tracks to the top for a quarter century at the firm, and they’ve been generously rewarded with stock and carried interest payouts in the process.

Nuttall and Bae are both already billionaires, Forbes calculates, with Nuttall boasting an estimated $1.2 billion fortune and Bae’s net worth sitting at $1.1 billion. The two men were named KKR’s second pair of co-CEOs effective immediately in a press release Monday, with Kravis and Roberts stepping back from the $430 billion (assets) firm they cofounded with Jerome Kohlberg in 1976. Forbes estimates Roberts, 78, is worth $9.1 billion and Kravis, 77, is worth $8.6 billion. A spokesperson for KKR declined to comment on these estimates.

A generation younger, Nuttall and Bae each joined KKR in their early 20s in 1996 after brief stints at Blackstone and Goldman Sachs, respectively. Both were named co-presidents in 2017, cementing the firm’s succession plans.

“We have spent virtually our entire careers at KKR because Henry and George are visionaries who not only shaped the business world but created a really special firm,” Nuttall and Bae said in a joint statement. “We are fortunate to have learned from and been mentored and inspired by two of the world’s most innovative investors of all time.”

Nuttall, 48, rose up the ranks at KKR to lead its global capital and asset management division, and he spearheaded its 2010 initial public offering. He has also served on the board of financial services firm Fiserv since its $22 billion acquisition of KKR-backed First Data Corp. in 2019. Bae, 49, led the firm’s expansion into Asia and serves on all of its private markets investment committees.

Both men’s promotions in 2017 came with generous stock awards and incentive packages. They both received 6.35 million shares or equivalent KKR Group Partnership Units in November 2017 that vest in annual installments through 2022, and they received the promise of an additional 2.5 million shares if KKR’s shares closed above $40 for 10 consecutive trading days before the end of 2022. That benchmark was cleared in January this year—KKR’s stock has more than doubled since the beginning of 2020 and now trades at $65.

Both Nuttall and Bae have also received more than $120 million in compensation excluding stock awards since 2017, according to KKR’s annual reports. In 2020 alone, they both got nearly $36 million in cash payments of carried interest.

Despite their wealth and youth, Nuttall and Bae are still unlikely to ever wield the same control over the firm that its founders do. They each own less than 2% of KKR, which has a market capitalization of $56 billion, and as part of its leadership transition, KKR announced it is eliminating its dual class stock structure by 2026 to give all of its shareholders equal voting rights of one vote per share.


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