KKR & Co. hired David Petraeus, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to run a new unit for public policy, economic research and emerging-market due diligence at the private-equity firm.

KKR, led by billionaires Henry Kravis and George Roberts, will create an internal institute to study macroeconomic trends and government policies to assess their implications on the firm’s investments, the New York-based firm said today in a statement. Petraeus will be chairman of the division, called KKR Global Institute, and help the company evaluate investment opportunities in new markets.

“This is not just about the deals in terms of dollars and cents,” Petraeus said in a telephone interview. “It’s about investors who require more information and want a deeper understanding of the operations of the businesses, for example, and of how exactly their money is being put to work.”

Petraeus, 60, resigned from the CIA on Nov. 9 after a probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that uncovered evidence of an extramarital affair with Paula Broadwell, the author of a biography about the retired four-star general. Petraeus, who previously was the commander of U.S. military forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, will also start as a visiting professor at City University of New York on Aug. 1, the school said last month.

Increased Regulation

KKR said it’s responding in part to the increased role of central banks and heightened regulation following the financial crisis. Investment firms including BlackRock Inc., Cerberus Capital Management LP and Carlyle Group LP have recruited former high-ranking government officials for similar roles.

BlackRock, the world’s biggest money manager, earlier this year named Peter Fisher, former Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, as the senior director of BlackRock Investment Institute. Fisher was previously head of fixed income at BlackRock.

Cerberus, the private-equity firm run by Stephen Feinberg, has employed former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle since 1999 and former Treasury Secretary John Snow since 2006, according to its website. Carlyle, known for its ties with former government officials since its inception in 1987, has counted President George H.W. Bush and former U.K. Prime Minister John Major as previous advisers.

Petraeus’s Role

At KKR, Petraeus will work with a team and also collaborate with Henry McVey, global head of macro and asset allocation, and Ken Mehlman, global head of public affairs and the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, KKR said. McVey regularly publishes what the firm calls thought pieces, and the firm said it plans to make the institute an outlet for articles by portfolio managers and others affiliated with the company.