Co-founder Trent Vichie to leave Stonepeak next year

Vichie and co-founder Mike Dorrell have built Stonepeak into one of the industry’s leading infrastructure managers over the past decade.

Trent Vichie, co-founder of Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, is retiring from the $25 billion manager he helped build.

Trent Vichie and Michael Dorrell of Stonepeak
Trent Vichie (left) and Michael Dorrell

Vichie, 46, is transitioning away from the US-based GP over the next few months and will officially call it quits on 31 March 2021, leaving Stonepeak’s other founder, Michael Dorrell, in charge, according to a memo sent to Stonepeak’s investors and seen by Infrastructure Investor.

The memo did not disclose Vichie’s reasons for leaving and whether he has future career plans in the infrastructure or finance industries.

A spokesman for Stonepeak declined to comment. Bloomberg News first reported Vichie’s departure.

His pending departure comes as the firm continues raising its fourth flagship infrastructure fund, which has gathered $8.2 billion so far and is expected to hold final close early next year on its $12 billion hard-cap, according to a source familiar with the matter. Committed investors include New York State Common Retirement Fund, Washington State Retirement System and Oregon Public Employees Retirement System.

Vichie and Dorrell, two natives of Sydney, Australia, have spent the majority of their careers working together in the US. The pair met in 2001 while working at Macquarie Group’s New York office. In 2008, they left to co-head Blackstone’s first attempt at raising an infrastructure fund, which the firm ultimately shut down in the post-Great Recession market environment.

In 2011, they founded Stonepeak and have spent the past decade deploying capital into mostly North American infrastructure assets in the transportation, energy and communications sectors. They closed their first fund in 2012 on $1.6 billion. That vehicle was generating a 12 percent net return as of April, according to documents published by the Employees’ Retirement System of Rhode Island. In 2015, the firm raised $3.5 billion for its second fund, which was generating 14.3 percent returns in April.

The close relationship between Stonepeak’s leaders was apparent in a profile of the firm published by Infrastructure Investor in 2018, following their third and largest fund close on $7.2 billion. Vichie and Dorrell portrayed Stonepeak as a tight-knit group of experienced investment professionals working in an all-hands-on-deck environment.

“We want to hear the opinions of the most senior person on the deal to the most junior,” Vichie said in the profile. In response, Dorrell added: “We can say anything to each other and there’s no offence. We’re just trying to find facts and the truth.”

Dorrell also underscored his close working relationship with Vichie by explaining how the two often balanced each other out when it came to making decisions. At one point, when the two were considering whether to commit to a $1 billion investment, Dorrell said he had to learn to trust Vichie’s gut when his own was sending a different message.

“Trent was on the ‘let’s do it’ side of that debate, and I was on the ‘wow, this is a pretty high multiple for this business’ side,” Dorrell explained. “We ultimately did it … and you know what, Trent was absolutely right on that, and I was wrong. That deal has turned into one of our best investments.”