The former boss of Wyeth, Robert Essner, has joined the private equity firm The Carlyle Group to help advise on investments in healthcare.

Mr [Essner, who has “32 years of operational experience” in the pharmaceutical industry, will act as senior advisor to Carlyle’s Global Healthcare group. Specifically, he will provide “strategic guidance…throughout the healthcare investment process, from sourcing to purchase” and “advise portfolio company executives on management, operational and growth strategies”.

The ex-Wyeth chief, who retired in 2008 as CEO and chairman before the company's takeover by Pfizer, said “we see a range of opportunities in the USA and globally for private capital to help strengthen and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the healthcare sector”. Karen Bechtel, Carlyle’s managing director and head of the Global Healthcare group, said Mr Essner’s leadership experience and “value creation abilities will add to the depth and scope of our ability to find and make compelling investments in the global healthcare space”.

Mr Essner is the latest industry heavyweight to join a private equity firm. Fred Hassan, ex-chief executive of Schering-Plough (until it was bought by Merck & Co) has been working with Warburg Pincus, while Clayton Dubilier & Rice recently signed pp ex-Procter & Gamble chief executive AG Lafley as a special partner.