Hellman & Friedman LLC, a San Francisco, California-based private equity firm, has closed its seventh buyout fund, with $8.8 billion in committed capital. The Hellman & Friedman Capital Partners VII fund will focus on attractive business services, information services, internet and digital media, asset management, insurance, other specialty financial services, media, healthcare, energy and industrials transactions.

Despite the severely challenging fundraising environment that many PE firms have bemoaned over the past year, the fund marks a modest increase from H&F’s previous fund. In April 2007, the firm held a final close of $8.4 billion for its sixth fund, HFCP VII.

Concurrent to the sizable raise, the buyout firm has embarked on a dramatic succession plan in which Philip U. Hammarskjold has been named chief executive officer of the buyout firm, while his predecessor, Brian Powers, will become the firm’s chairman. In addition, Patrick Healy is now deputy CEO and Warren Hellman, previously chairman of the PE firm, becomes founder.

Hammarskjold is a director at the firm’s portfolio companies AlixPartners LLP, Catalina Marketing Corporation, Emdeon Business Services, and Goodman Global, Inc. He joined H&F from the corporate advisory department of Dominguez Barry Samuel Montagu in Sydney, Australia. Prior to which, he was part of Morgan Stanley & Co.’s New York merchant banking department.

Earlier this week, Matthew R. Barger, a Hellman & Friedman senior advisor, became lead director of Thomas Weisel Partners Group’s board.

The private equity firm, founded in 1987, has about $25 billion in committed capital.

In addition to its headquarters in San Francisco, the firm also has locations in Manhattan and London, UK. Calls placed to H&F were not returned by press time.