Amid trial, Kleiner Perkins recruits next generation of partners
By Sarah McBride
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - For the past month, the name most associated with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is former partner Ellen Pao, who took the firm to trial for gender discrimination and retaliation.
Now the company is searching for new names, at a more intense level than is typical in venture capital, leaders who will take over the firm in coming years as current partners retire.
“You can imagine that over the next 18-24 months we’ll be adding people to the firm,” said Mike Abbott, 42, one of the newest Kleiner partners, and himself a contender to one day take over the mantle of the firm from its current de facto leader, 63-year-old John Doerr.
Describing the effort as “a big focus,” Abbott said in a telephone interview with Reuters on Thursday that he is actively recruiting, along with Doerr and longtime partners, Ted Schlein and Juliet de Baubigny.
The question around the next generation of leaders at Kleiner is taking on added significance because of Pao's lawsuit, which is highlighting gaffes by current and previous partners. Any fallout from the trial, where the jury began deliberations on Wednesday in a California courtroom after 4 -1/2 weeks of testimony, is being taken as a lesson in Silicon Valley.
Once the dominant force in venture capital, backing Google and Amazon, Kleiner has delivered a more mixed record in the past several years. Its most recent flagship fund totaled $450 million, compared to $650 million three years earlier. The firm reorganized in 2013 and 2014, saying it wanted to be smaller and more agile.
In the process, many younger partners left.
Abbott said the Pao lawsuit had not had an impact on the recruiting drive. Continued...