KKR said Monday that co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts are stepping aside and handing the reins over to Joe Bae and Scott Nuttall. Are the two ready to take over one of the world’s largest investment powerhouses? According to KKR, they are more than capable of doing so.

Both Bae and Nuttall joined KKR in 1996 and have served as co-presidents and co-chief operating officers since July 2017. “Since then, KKR has seen significant growth in operating performance, with assets under management, book value, total distributable earnings doubling and KKR’s stock price tripling,” according to the firm.

Much more so than in the past, private equity firms are taking on younger investment professionals, mentoring them and giving them opportunities to learn the firms. This helps create a more seamless leadership transition when the time comes, as Mergers & Acquisitions has covered throughout the year.

Bae and Nuttall have been instrumental in helping KKR grow. Bae helped KKR expand in Asia and built the firm’s private markets business. Nuttall led KKR’s public listing, developed the firm’s public markets businesses in the credit and hedge fund spaces, and helped create the firm’s capital markets, capital raising and insurance platforms. “As co-presidents and co-chief operating officers, they have worked collaboratively and cemented a strong leadership team that has taken the firm to new heights,” Kravis and Roberts said.

In a sign of what matters to PE firms today, it’s interesting to note that both Bae and Nuttall serve on the firm’s Inclusion and Diversity Council.

Based on Bae’s and Nuttall’s track records so far, KKR looks to be in good hands.

Demitri Diakantonis