Carlyle was founded in 1987 by five Washington executives: William E. Conway, Jr., Stephen L. Norris, David M. Rubenstein, Daniel A. D'Aniello and Greg Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum left in 1987; Norris left in 1995. The three remaining founders are reported to collectively own around a 50% interest in the group's general partnership. The rest of Carlyle is owned by a group of individuals, most of whom serve as managing directors, and by two institutional investors. Prior to co-founding the Carlyle Group, Mr. Norris was a senior executive at Marriott Corporation.
In 2008, Norris announced a memorandum of understanding with the SCO Group, a Unix and Linux software company involved in lawsuits against IBM, Novell, and others. Under the terms of the plan, Norris would purchase a controlling interest in SCO for $100 million.
In March 2009, Gulf Capital Partners, LLC, announced the appointment of Stephen L. Norris as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Gulf Capital Partners is a private equity firm based in Beverly Hills, California with offices in Dubai, Doha and New York.