Carlyle hires ex-Goldman commodities analyst Currie in energy push

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Carlyle Group has hired Jeff Currie, the former Goldman Sachs global head of commodities research who predicted a mid-2000s boom in oil prices, to help the US private capital group invest behind big trends in energy markets.

Over almost three decades at the investment bank, Currie became famous for several notable calls including predicting a commodities “super cycle” driven by China’s rapid industrialisation and persistent supply shortfalls, which led oil to vault above $100 a barrel for the first time in 2008.

Currie was known for a relentlessly bullish outlook, predicting another lasting rise in prices coming out of the pandemic that never materialised. Goldman announced his departure in August.

Carlyle, which manages more than $400bn, said Currie would analyse commodities markets to help the group’s dealmakers uncover trends in energy supply chains and the transition to lower carbon-emitting fuels.

“Jeff is a leading expert on global markets and commodities and his experience and insights will help us better address the unprecedented market dislocations arising from the global energy transition for the benefit of our investors,” said Carlyle chief executive Harvey Schwartz in a statement.

Currie, whose title will be chief strategy officer of energy pathways, joins several other former Goldman Sachs executives hired by Schwartz, who himself was a top executive at the investment bank before he missed out in the race for its top job against current chief executive David Solomon.

Since taking the reins of Carlyle a year ago, Schwartz has hired former Goldman executives including investor relations head Jeff Nedelman and deputy chief operating officer Lindsay LoBue, who will focus on strategic initiatives.

Currie’s hiring is among Schwartz’s most notable as he plots to revive growth at the New York and Washington-based group after a period of stagnation.

Among private equity groups, Carlyle has been one of the most resistant to pressure to exit its investments in oil and natural gas drillers. In early 2022, it committed to a “net zero” goal under former chief Kewsong Lee, but did not dispose of billions of dollars in fossil energy investments.

The decision proved prescient after Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine drove a surge in oil and gas prices. Carlyle’s roughly $20bn infrastructure and natural resources portfolio jumped in value, gaining 48 per cent in 2022 and a further 8 per cent in 2023.

In addition to energy investments, Carlyle has been investing heavily in energy infrastructure and the “energy transition” of shifting power generation to lower carbon-emitting sources such as renewables.

Currie is expected to analyse trends shaping energy markets and even help Carlyle’s dealmakers evaluate investment opportunities. He will work from Carlyle’s London offices and report to Marcel van Poecke, chair of energy at the group.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jeff who can add a further layer of analysis to aid our investment decision-making,” said van Poecke and Pooja Goyal, the group’s head of infrastructure, in a statement.

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