September 11, 2023

Susan Kasser

Managing Director and Head of Private Debt, Neuberger Berman

A decade ago, Susan Kasser took a chance and it paid off. An investment professional in the direct lending business at Carlyle Group, she decided what she really wanted to do was start and manage a private debt business because she had a very distinctive view on how to invest.

That opportunity came from well-established global money manager Neuberger Berman, where Ms. Kasser as managing director and head of private debt launched that business from ground zero on her own. Now, 10 years later, she oversees a staff of more than 20 professionals and over $13 billion in assets under management. 

Ms. Kasser, who is based in New York, gives plenty of credit to Neuberger Berman for what may have seemed like a brave choice at the time.


“(I was) somebody who hadn’t had that job before, so yes, I was a private debt investor but I wasn’t on the investment committee at Carlyle, I hadn’t raised money at Carlyle, I wasn’t a managing director,” Ms. Kasser said. “They saw skills and abilities rather than resume achievements.”

After investments from two institutional investors to raise capital for the business, she started to build her team and realized her role was transforming into a “coaching, teaching, leading by example role.” She asked herself: “How do I give them that feeling of deep gratitude and accountability to the investors even though they didn’t live that journey” of starting and building a business from scratch? 

Part of that involves a commitment to mentorship firmwide beyond just the staff involved in Neuberger Berman’s investment management processes, in a program called “speed mentorship” modeled after speed dating.

“One of the things that I’ve learned as a mentor: You would be surprised what you know that you can share that can be useful,” Ms. Kasser said. 

— Rob Kozlowski

.Reprinted with permission from Pensions & Investments. © 2023 Crain Communications Inc. All rights reserved. 
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