David Liu and Julian Wolhardt, members in KKR & Co.'s Asia private equity business, are leaving the alternative investment firm at the end of 2016 to form a new China-focused investment firm, confirmed sources close to the firm.
Ming Lu, a KKR member and co-head of KKR's Asia private equity business will be sole head of Asia private equity and interim head of China until KKR executives appoint a permanent successor, according to a KKR news release. Mr. Liu had been the other co-head of Asia private equity and head of China.
Member is KKR's term for partner.
Messrs. Liu and Wolhardt will be advisers to KKR beginning in 2017.
“We are extremely proud to have been part of KKR over the last 10 years and to have contributed to building a leading Asian private equity platform. As we go on to pursue our own entrepreneurial venture, we look forward to finding opportunities to work in partnership with KKR in the future,” Messrs. Liu and Wolhardt said in a written statement.
At the same time, KKR has hired three executives in the region. All are new positions. Ashish Shastry has joined as a member and head of Southeast Asia. He was a managing partner at Singapore-based private equity firm Northstar Group. “Mr Shastry’s responsibilities will be assumed by Choon Hong Tan and Sunata Tjiterosampurno, who have been promoted to be co-chief investment officers,” said a statement from Northstar. Both were managing directors.
Zhen Ji was named managing director of China. Mr. Ji was a managing director at China-based alternative investment firm CITIC Capital. Cindy Tam, CITIC spokeswoman, could not be immediately reached by press time seeking information on Mr. Ji's replacement.
Hyoung Seok Lim is a new managing director with KKR in Korea. Mr. Lim was a partner and founder of Compass LKL, a merchant banking firm providing cross-border investment solutions for Korean investors and companies.