The times, they are a changin’. Like Ron Burgundy but not in a fun way, Henry Kravis has probably never heard that song. And yet, the house of Kravis (and the late Kohlberg and cousin Roberts) is, indeed, changing. It’s got two people not named Kravis or Roberts sort of in charge now, albeit under the unforgivingly hawk-like glare of Henry Kravis. It’s not only gone public, it’s gone corporate, shedding the partnership structure that has long defined it and every other private equity firm. And now, like BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs before it, it’s going business casual, with the understanding that if you take things too far or don’t have a perfectly-pressed suit hanging on the back of your office door, Kravis may make up for lost time at your expense.
The memo, written by founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts as well as co-presidents Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae, said the shift was taking place due to a desire to have a more dynamic workplace.
“Given the changing nature of workplace towards less formality…we believe this is the right change for our employees,” the memo said….
“We trust you all to strike the right balance and exercise good judgment,” the memo said…. “At the same time, we recognize that many of our clients and other external relationships have a more formal expectation of professionalism,” the memo said. “So please always have business attire available.”
This may seem out of character for Henry Kravis, but it makes total sense. Even at 75, with almost $6 billion in the bank, Kravis has not lost his taste for making money. When he realized that, in the wake of the Trump tax heist, turning KKR into a corporation would likely earn him more of it, he didn’t hesitate to become the first major p.e. honcho to take that plunge. If these Millennial types don’t want to wear a tie when crunching numbers at 3 a.m. on a Saturday, that’s fine. And if it’s not, well, you know….