KKR names former CIA head Petraeus as chairman of new institute

Former CIA director and retired general David Petraeus gives the sign for "fight on", the motto of the University of Southern California, speaks as the keynote speaker at the university's annual dinner for veterans and ROTC students, in Los Angeles, California March 26, 2013. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo

(Reuters) - Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co KKR.N said it appointed former CIA Director David Petraeus as chairman of the newly created KKR Global Institute, which will study the investment implications of global macroeconomic, social and geopolitical issues.

Petraeus will also support KKR’s investment teams in the diligence process, particularly in considering investments in new geographies, KKR said on Thursday.

Petraeus was credited with helping pull Iraq from the brink of an all-out civil war as commander there and President Barack Obama turned to him to lead U.S. forces in Afghanistan before moving to him to the CIA in 2011.

Petraeus resigned as head of the CIA in November, saying he had engaged in an extramarital affair.

The sex scandal involving Petraeus and his biographer Paula Broadwell, an Army reserve intelligence officer who is also married, provided fodder for comedians and triggered a media storm that followed his confession and resignation.

It was a stunning downfall for a revered military man who was seen as one of the top American leaders of his generation and was once considered a potential contender for the White House.

KKR, which has more than $78 billion in assets under management, has been involved in some of the biggest private equity buyouts in history including the $45 billion takeover of Texas power producer TXU, now known as Energy Future Holdings, in 2007.

KKR's other investments include hospital operator HCA Holdings Inc HCA.N, retailer Toys R US Inc, and internet domain registration company Go Daddy Group Inc.

Private equity still accounts for most of KKR’s assets under management, but the firm has been diversifying into credit and hedge funds.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon