AB-PCI continues hiring spree

AllianceBernstein’s Private Credit Investors group has hired three senior people from Varagon Capital Management, Fifth Street Asset Management and Cerberus.  

AB has continued to hire senior people for its Private Credit Investors (PCI) group after significantly expanding the team last year.

AB, formerly known as AllianceBernstein, recently hired Michael Girondo in New York, Leon Han in San Francisco and Daniel Weiss, who will split his time between Austin and Chicago, said Brent Humphries, head of AB-PCI.

Girondo, who joined this month as a managing director, works with Jay Ramakrishnan and Hardeep Saini in New York on sourcing deals from other channels, such as broker-dealers and intermediaries. Ramakrishnan, also a managing director and one of the founding members of AB-PCI, heads origination, and has specific expertise in healthcare and technology.

Girondo was previously head of capital markets at Varagon Capital Management, the New York-based lending firm founded two years ago with capital from AIG and Oak Hill Capital Partners. Varagon is in the process of setting up a lending partnership with Ares Capital.

Before Varagon, Girondo held various roles in the credit and leveraged finance departments at Citi and JPMorgan, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Han recently started at AB-PCI as a director, driving the firm’s software origination efforts in the Bay area and partnering with Ramakrishnan on these deals.

Within software, AB-PCI tends to focus on mature companies with stable cashflows and software as a service providers, Humphries added. Han was previously a managing director in technology lending at Fifth Street Asset Management in Palo Alto, California. Before Fifth Street, he held junior roles at ORIX Ventures, ABS Capital Partners and Jefferies & Co.

Weiss started at AB-PCI as a director in a regional execution and origination role last month. He previously worked at Cerberus in a similar role between 2011 and 2013 and was at Colter Ridge Partners, a private investment firm focused on small and mid-market companies, for a year.

AB-PCI has about $2.5 billion in assets and plans to grow by $500 million more this year, according to Reuters. The firm’s flagship fund is structured as open-ended so it can continuously raise money. It has also submitted preliminary filings with the SEC regarding business development companies (BDCs). The firm is considering the merits of launching such a vehicle.

AB-PCI was formed two years ago with several senior hires from Barclays’ Private Credit Partners group. They included Humphries, Ramakrishnan, Patrick Fear, Shishir Agrawal and Wesley Raper. The group is now headquartered in Austin and has some of its executives in AB’s New York offices, as well as in Chicago, San Francisco and Houston. AB-PCI has grown to about 30 people.

AB has $460 billion in assets under management in a variety of traditional and alternative strategies. The firm is a publicly traded partnership that is majority owned by French insurer AXA.