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Retired General David Petraeus is headed to Wall Street. He'll join Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, or KKR. It's a firm that invests globally in everything from real estate to coffee to biotech. Petraeus resigned last November as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, after revelations he had an extra-marital affair with his biographer.
NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports on the four-star general's transition from public service to private equity.
YUKI NOGUCHI, BYLINE: Over nearly four decades in the military, David Petraeus traveled the world on diplomatic and intelligence missions. Even then, he says in a video posted today on KKR's website, he occasionally viewed these trips through an investor's lens.
DAVID PETRAEUS: To see countries that I visited and would occasionally wonder why aren't there U.S. investors here.
NOGUCHI: Petraeus is a West Point graduate with a Ph.D. from Princeton in international relations. Before joining the CIA, he had been commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, which culminated more than 37 years in the Army. He says he decided to join KKR because the company takes what he calls an intellectual approach to business. The company invests in many different industry sectors and in over 80 companies ranging from U.S. medical device makers to dairy farms in China and a coffee chain in India.
PETRAEUS: I think there are enormous trends that are developing around the world in energy, manufacturing, life sciences, and IT revolutions that are having far-reaching effects. And we're just beginning to see what those effects will be long-term.
NOGUCHI: In his new role, Petraeus will head the newly created KKR Global Institute, a kind of advisory arm for clients. The company says he will also advise KKR itself on international investments, an area where Petraeus has impressive contacts. Speaking in that same video, KKR co-founder Henry Kravis told Petraeus this.
HENRY KRAVIS: By bringing you on to chair the global institute, what it will give us is a real advantage from an investor standpoint.
NOGUCHI: In joining a big name Wall Street firm, Petraeus is following a well-worn path tread by many former top government officials before him. In the months following the disclosure of his affair and his resignation, Petraeus had kept out of the public eye, working on helping veterans find employment. Finally, in late March, Petraeus broke his silence. Speaking to an audience of veterans at the University of Southern California, he acknowledged he's still working to rebuild the public's faith in him.
PETRAEUS: I join you keenly aware that I am regarded in a different light now than I was a year ago.
NOGUCHI: Petraeus apologized for causing pain to his family and supporters. He is perhaps best known for championing a counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq that involved winning hearts and minds. When he retired from the military three years ago, he had this advice.
PETRAEUS: We don't always get to fight the wars for which we're most prepared or most inclined.
NOGUCHI: In other words, the best laid plans sometimes lead to unexpected places, so one must adapt.
Yuki Noguchi, NPR News, Washington.
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