Kirkland London restructuring partner joins KKR spinoff as first general counsel

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Kirkland & Ellis London restructuring partner Mark Knight has left the firm to join Pillarstone – an investment platform set up by US private equity giant KKR – as its first general counsel.

Pillarstone, which was established by KKR Credit in 2015, focuses on turning around underperforming and non-core European bank assets. It is based in London and also has offices in Italy and Greece.

Knight, who recently went on secondment to Pillarstone, has now joined the company full-time as a partner and GC.

He had been at Kirkland since 2008 after joining from DLA Piper, subsequently making partner in 2014. That year, he advised KKR on a deal that saw the private equity firm arrange €241m (£194m) in direct lending for Spanish pizza chain TelePizza. More recently, he acted for US investment firm Bayside Capital as the largest lender on the restructuring of Spanish perfume company Bodybell.

Other roles that Kirkland has taken for KKR in recent years include advising on the $1bn acquisition of construction manufacturing assets from UK investment company Melrose Industries in 2013, as well as the private equity giant’s investment in the Ultimate Fighting Championship last year.

Knight’s move leaves Kirkland with three specialist restructuring partners in London – Kon Asimacopoulos, Partha Kar and Elaine Nolan.

The news comes after Kirkland banking partner Rob Bradshaw joined Dechert’s London office last month, while in February the firm saw the departure of a seven-partner team in Munich to Sidley Austin. The firm has since moved to rebuild in Germany, with the hire of Munich private equity partner Volkmar Bruckner from Weil Gotshal & Manges.