KKR hires Simpson Thacher M&A co-head as general counsel

Kathryn King Sudol to succeed US private equity giant’s veteran GC David Sorkin

A global co-head of M&A at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is to leave the firm after more than 20 years to be general counsel at long-time client KKR. 

New York-based Kathryn King Sudol will succeed David Sorkin, who has served as the US investment giant’s GC since 2007 and will become the company’s chief legal officer. Both appointments are effective 6 September and at the end of Q1 2023 Sudol will assume the role of CLO with Sorkin becoming an advisory partner.

King Sudol has held a number of leadership roles during her 24 years at Simpson Thacher, including eight years leading the firm's M&A practice in Hong Kong and serving as a member of its executive committee. She currently chairs the firm’s business development committee. 

Her practice covers complex and high-profile M&A transactions, including leveraged buyouts, going private transactions, minority and strategic investments, joint ventures and contested acquisitions. Recognised as a leading M&A and private equity lawyer by legal guides such as Chambers and Partners and the Legal 500, she has advised clients including Alibaba, Ant Financial, BlackRock, Cerberus, Hellman & Friedman and Silver Lake as well as KKR. 

Commenting on the appointment, Joe Bae and Scott Nuttall, co-chief executive officers of KKR, said: “Katie has worked very closely with KKR and members of our senior team both in the US and internationally for many, many years. She is a preeminent lawyer and a dynamic leader who is a perfect fit with our culture. We are delighted that she has decided to join KKR, and we are excited to work with her as a strategic partner for years to come in achieving our growth objectives.”

Alden Millard, chair of Simpson Thacher’s executive committee, said: "Katie is a phenomenal lawyer and we are grateful for her tremendous contributions to Simpson Thacher throughout her nearly 25-year tenure with the firm. We wish Katie every success and look forward to continuing to work with her and the entire KKR team."

Simspon Thacher ranked second in Refinitiv's global M&A legal advisor league tables for H1 2022, advising on 111 deals worth $325bn. Like last year, the firm lost out on first place to New York rival Sullivan & Cromwell, which in H1 2022 worked on 88 deals worth $356bn. 

Recent mega deals for Simpson Thacher's M&A team have included counselling Microsoft on its landmark $68.7bn acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard and advising Blackstone on the $24bn recapitalisation of Mileway, the biggest operator of urban warehouses in Europe, in what has been called the largest private real estate transaction ever. 

Last year, Simpson Thacher hired Geoffrey Bailhache  – European GC at another key private equity client, Blackstone – as a partner in London.

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