The head of KKR & Co.'s private equity business in the U.K. and Ireland, Tim Franks, has decided to leave the firm just months after it closed its latest European buyout fund.
Mr. Franks, a partner who also ran KKR's private equity consumer team in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, joined from rival Advent International in 2017. He was involved in deals including KKR's investment in haircare brand Wella and acquisition of Unilever's margarine and spreads business.
Separately, Daan Knottenbelt, the head of KKR's Benelux business, will move to become chairman of its operations in that region.
"The firm is now the largest investor in the Netherlands by capital invested, and we continue to see a lot of opportunity for private capital to help create value," said Mr. Knottenbelt, who joined KKR in 2018 from Palamon Capital Partners.
Private equity firms have been facing challenges to their traditional model of buying companies and loading them with cheap debt, as rising interest rates force portfolio companies to refinance at a higher levels. At the same time, the increased cost of living has hit spending across the consumer sector.
KKR has been struggling to refinance the debt of Dutch food group Upfield — the former Unilever spreads business — and recently handed over ownership of Hilding Anders International to creditors as part of the Swedish mattress maker's second debt restructuring in less than a year.
KKR closed its latest European buyout fund at $8 billion in April. Last month, KKR overhauled leadership of its Asia-Pacific private equity team as it began allocating capital from a new $15 billion regional fund.
"Tim and Daan have helped build our business in EMEA over the last 5-6 years, and we are grateful for their significant contributions," a spokesperson for KKR said in an email. Mr. Franks didn't respond to a request for comment.