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Photo on left of Joe & Rose Restaurant, where KKR was conceived in 1976. Photo: Liz Hafalia/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The barbarians are backing away from the gates, as Henry Kravis and George Roberts this morning stepped down as co-CEOs of private equity giant KKR.

Why it matters: Kravis and Roberts, along with the late Jerome Kohlberg, are the godfathers of leveraged buyouts (which were later rebranded as private equity, in part due to the brutal capitalism once practiced by LBO firms like KKR).

  • This leaves The Blackstone Group as the oldest big buyout firm to still be led by one of its founders. No word yet on when Steve Schwarzman will formally turn the reins over to Jon Gray.

Details: Kravis and Roberts, cousins who live on opposite coasts, will continue to be involved in KKR as co-executive chairmen. But their voting rights will be diminished, as KKR plans to eliminate its controlled preferred stock, moving to a "one share, one vote" model.

  • The new co-CEOs are Joe Bae and Scott Nuttall, who were named co-presidents and co-COOs back in 2017. In other words, this is following a predetermined succession script.

Anecdote: I first met Kravis while interviewing him at a conference in Quebec City. The keynote conversation was mildly contentious at times, perhaps because I'd unintentionally woken him up the night before by ringing Kravis' hotel room to ask a question.

  • A couple years later I was at a media "meet and greet" hosted by KKR, and make eye contact with Kravis, who was standing with Roberts. He calls me over to make the intro: "George, this is a reporter who interviewed me in Canada. I was warned that he was going to give me all of these tough questions, but it was one of the easiest interviews I ever did."

The bottom line: For private equity, this is the end of an era.

Go deeper

Jan. 6 panel subpoenas 2 far-right "America First" activists

The House panel investigating the Capitol riot, from left; Reps. Bennie Thompson, Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin on Capitol Hill in December. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Capitol riot issued subpoenas Wednesday for far-right leaders Nick Fuentes and Patrick Casey, who allegedly encouraged followers to go to D.C. and challenge the 2020 election results.

Why it matters: The action underscores the panel's increasing focus on rallies held ahead of the Capitol attack and how extremists were drawn to former President Trump's baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, per the New York Times.

Democrats fail to change Senate rules to pass voting rights bill

Senate Majority Leader during a news conference in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Democrats failed Wednesday night to change Senate filibuster rules to pass the voting rights bill, with Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) voting with Republicans.

The big picture: The failed effort came after Senate Republicans blocked the voting rights measure from coming to a final vote earlier Wednesday.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.