BET Founder Taps Four for New Ventures

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Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, has selected four executives for his recently launched private equity and hedge fund ventures.

Daphne Dufresne and Alan Nichols come to RLJ Equity Partners, Johnson's private equity business, as managing directors. Dufresne was formerly a venture partner at Parish Capital Advisors.

Nichols, formerly chief financial officer of Black Entertainment Television parent BET Holdings, joins from private equity fund Golden Gate Capital, where he was an operating partner responsible for media and communications.

RLJ Select Investments, Johnson's hedge fund venture, made two additions as well. Derek Saleeby will be chief investment officer and Carlton Byrd joins as chief marketing officer. Saleeby was a principal with New York-based hedge fund advisor RAM Capital Resources, and Byrd previously was a senior vice president for Friedman Billings Ramsey, where he oversaw institutional business development.

RLJ Equity Partners is a joint venture with Carlyle Group, the buyout firm. RLJ Select Investments is a hedge fund joint venture with Deutsche Asset Management, the global asset management business of Deutsche Bank.

Johnson retired from BET last month. The two new ventures are part of his effort create the largest African American-owned asset management firm in the US.