The biggest private equity hires of 2019; WeWork's new advertising push

Hello, readers,

With 2019 quickly drawing to a close, we've been looking back at this year's key hires and exits to understand where firms are staffing up and what the hot areas to watch will be in 2020.

This week, Casey Sullivan rounded up the biggest private equity people moves at places like KKR, Blackstone, and The Carlyle Group. He also took a look at the lawyers who worked on some of the biggest PE deals of 2019, and talked to insiders to understand who is likely to keep popping up on key transactions as PE firms look to put billions of dollars in unused investor money to work.

And in case you missed it last week, we've also assembled a list of the 40 biggest investment banking hires of 2019.

WeWork is slashing jobs and looking to offload its non-coworking businesses to rein in its massive losses. But it also just kicked off a big advertising campaign that cost a few hundred thousand dollars, and is opening new locations at a record pace even after its failed IPO and subsequent SoftBank bailout.

As Meghan Morris and Patrick Coffee reported this week, WeWork launched a print ad push in a dozen markets on Friday, two weeks after Maurice Levy was named as the company's interim chief marketing officer.

Levy also happens to be the chairman of Publicis Groupe, which did the creative work. He had previously worked with WeWork's new chairman, Marcelo Claure, when Claure was the chief executive of Sprint, a major Publicis customer until Levy stepped down as CEO of the ad conglomerate.

After WeWork laid off around 2,400 workers last month, former WeWorkers are turning to viral LinkedIn posts and networking events hosted by former coworkers to try to land on their feet. Meghan went to a recruiting meetup in New York this week to learn more -you can read the full story here.

WeWork's older rival, IWG, is meanwhile hoping it can use a McDonald's-like franchising model to fuel its next leg of growth, and its CEO, Mark Dixon, has shared his big ambitions with us. Dixon said that he's taking inspiration from the fast food approach and hopes to eventually grow the flex-office company to 30,000 locations - a massive step up from the 3,500 locations in 110 countries it has now.

A roundup of must-know headlines from this week below, plus some excellent long reads.

Have a great weekend,

Meredith


Fintech, proptech, and data news

People moves


Point72, Renaissance Technologies, and Millennium are betting they can make quant strategies work in bond markets. Here's why their nascent credit trading teams face an uphill battle.

Some of the world's largest quant funds are working to turn their mathematical wizardry to a market that has long remained outside their reach: Bonds.

Point72, Renaissance Technologies and Millennium Management are among a growing group of hedge funds hoping to leverage their expertise in analyzing large chunks of data to systematically trade US corporate bonds in what they believe could be a big opportunity in a market valued at $9.2 trillion in 2018.

Recruiters tell Business Insider that firms are unsure of what to look for when hiring for these kinds of roles because "it's just so different from the equity space."

READ THE FULL STORY HERE


LendingClub's turnaround hinges on repackaging consumer loans to win back big investors. The 20-year Morgan Stanley veteran behind those efforts explains how she's tackling the peer-to-peer lender's revamp.

Valerie Kay LendingClub

LendingClub

LendingClub, founded in 2007, is a matchmaker for loans, where consumers and small businesses who need money can access investors who have money to lend. In 2016, the company's chief executive officer stepped down amid internal investigations into altered loans and his own conflicts of interest in potential LendingClub investments.

Investors stopped buying up the consumer loans, the US Department of Justice announced its own investigation, and the company's stock price fell. Valerie Kay joined LendingClub in 2016 on the investor side of the business. She was tasked with digging the company out of a hole by reestablishing trust with existing investors and bringing in new ones.

To do this, Kay has launched structured products for larger investors like banks and asset managers - a shift from the company's initial pure peer-to-peer model. Kay wants to make consumer loans mainstream investment products, like mortgages.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE

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