Actis partner to join Providence

Providence Equity Partners has hired Tao Sun to head its China investments.

Tao Sun, a Beijing-based partner at emerging markets specialist Actis, will leave the firm at the end of the year.

He will take on the role of managing director and head of China investments at Providence Equity Partners, which lost Sean Tong earlier this year. Tong left to join former TPG Capital partner Mary Ma at her new venture, Boyu Capital.

“Tao has been a highly valued member of our firm. Although we are sorry to see him leave, we have all reason to be confident in the strength of our team in China,” Meng Ann Lim, partner and head of China and Southeast Asia at Actis, told PE Asia. He added that his team has the expertise and experience to support the future growth of their portfolio companies. 

Sun’s departure followed the retirement of Benjamin Cheng, who left the firm in November last year.

Since joining Actis in 2008, Sun has worked on a number of investments including education company Ambow, an expansion deal the firm made in September 2008, and China PSE Investment Holdings, a tertiary education company the firm invested in November 2009. He was just promoted to partner in December last year.

Prior to Actis, Sun worked at Merrill Lynch’s principal credit group in Hong Kong, where he was responsible for private equity deal execution and portfolio management in China.

Sun is part of a growing list of Chinese nationals being poached between rival private equity firms. Earlier this month, The Blackstone Group hired former Carlyle managing director Yi Luo as senior managing director, while TPG hired former Bain Capital managing director Jingsheng Huang as a partner in July.