KKR names Pietrzak sole head of global private credit

Moves will see his former co-head Boulanger leave and Small assume responsibility for direct lending in Europe.

KKR named Dan Pietrzak as its sole head of global private credit and announced that his former co-head, Matthieu Boulanger, who was based in London, was leaving to pursue other opportunities.

Dan Pietrzak

At the same time, the New-York based investment firm said that Michael Small, a partner in London who serves as a portfolio manager for the firm’s global junior debt strategy, will take on the additional responsibility for managing KKR’s direct lending efforts in Europe. KKR didn’t elaborate on the thinking behind the changes. But the market for private credit in the US is much bigger than it is in Europe.

“As traditional lenders pull back, scaled private credit investors have a real opportunity to provide capital to high quality issuers and the breadth and depth of our platform enables us to support issuers with bespoke solutions,” said Chris Sheldon, co-head of global credit and markets at KKR. “Dan has been instrumental in helping build our private credit business into what it is today. We look forward to its continued growth under his leadership and are grateful to Matthieu for his contributions to KKR.”

Indeed, Pietrzak, in an interview with Private Debt Investor, said, “This is private credit’s moment to shine”. He said that KKR’s direct lending business has benefitted in the past few quarters from the syndicated loan market being closed, and from the dislocation in the securitised products market. “Private credit has been the only game in town,” he said. That, coupled with asset-backed finance and a greater push into the subordinated debt market, will be major areas of growth for KKR’s private credit business, he said.

Since the start of 2017, a year after Pietrzak joined KKR and the same year Boulanger joined, the firm’s private credit business has grown exponentially, from $8 billion to $76 billion today.

KKR private credit, which includes direct lending, junior debt and asset-based-finance strategies, is part of KKR’s broader credit business, which manages more than $200 billion of assets with a global team of approximately 190 investment professionals, including 110 dedicated to private credit. KKR is currently raising funds for six private debt vehicles, according to PDI R&A.

Pietrzak has more than 20 years of investment experience. In addition to his role as head of private credit, he is co-president and chief investment officer for FS KKR Corp. (NYSE: FSK), a BDC, and sits on the boards of FSK and several of KKR’s credit portfolio companies.

Prior to joining KKR, Pietrzak was a managing director and the co-head of Deutsche Bank’s structured finance business across the Americas and Europe. Before that, he held various roles in the credit businesses of Société Générale and CIBC World Markets.

Small has more than 20 years of credit investing experience. Before joining KKR in 2021, he was a partner at Park Square Capital, where he served on the investment committee and executive committee and helped establish junior debt and direct lending businesses.

KKR is a global investment firm with more than $510 billion of assets under management and offers alternative asset management as well as capital markets and insurance solutions.