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Revenge of the founders: A generational rift on Wall Street

The abrupt departure of Kewsong Lee as Carlyle Group’s chief executive followed conflicts over how to run the financial firm

IN EARLY August, Kewsong Lee, the chief executive of the Carlyle Group, got on a videoconference call with two of the private equity firm's board members. They told him that Carlyle's septuagenarian founders were planning to play a more active role managing the firm.

Lee, 58, was not pleased. "Life's too short," he responded, according to people familiar with the call.

Two days later, Carlyle stunned Wall Street: Lee was stepping down. So sudden was his resignation that the company didn't have a successor lined up.

Lee's departure - which people familiar with the matter said arose from differences over how to run the firm and after Lee was perceived to criticise the firm's three founders - was a...

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