KKR chooses Akin lobbyist as public affairs chief

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has snared high-profile Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld Washington DC lobbyist Ken Mehlman to become its first global head of public affairs.

Mehlman, until now a partner at Akin Gump, has joined the private equity giant to work on strengthening relationships with governments, law firms, NGOs and portfolio companies. Having spent three years as an Akin Gump associate in the 1990s, Mehlman rejoined the firm last March after a career in politics. Immediately prior to rejoining the firm he served as chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Mehlman has a longstanding relationship with KKR. While at Akin Gump Mehlman lobbied the US government fighting against attempts to raise taxes for the private equity industry.

KKR co-founder Henry Kravis said: “As we continue to communicate to the public the benefits of private equity, Ken is a wonderful addition to our executive team, allowing us to expand and institutionalise our outreach to key groups across our portfolio.”

Last year (26 November) The Lawyer reported on KKR hiring former Simpson Thacher & Bartlett New York partner David Sorkin as its first ever general counsel.

The private equity giant, which is expected to float in the near future, has been aggressively hiring from the market and has created a number of key roles that are common in public companies.