Bala Deshpande quits ICICI Venture

ICICI Venture is to suffer another high profile departure. Deshpande is set to leave the firm, reportedly to take a position with NEA, just months after Aluri Rao left to lead Morgan Stanley Private Equity’s India operations.

Bala Deshpande, a senior director of investments at ICICI Venture, one of India’s largest private equity firms, is leaving the company. Her last day at the firm will be on 15 September, a company spokeswoman told PEO.

Deshpande is reportedly headed to New Enterprise Associates in India, according to a source. NEA makes mid- to late-stage investments in India. It also invests indirectly in the country through NEA-IndoUS, a venture capital firm focused on technology and technology-enabled services. The venture firm could not be reached for comment.

Deshpande joined ICICI Venture in 2000. She identified investment opportunities in sectors such as retail, media, information technology, IT-enabled services and telecom, and executed 10 exits. She is on the board of companies including Pantaloon Retail, which owns and operates a chain of supermarkets, a chain of fashion outlets, and shopping malls; Air Deccan, India's first budget airline (now known as Kingfisher Red); and, a job portal.

Her departure is the second high profile exit from ICICI Venture in five months. In April, Aluri Srinivasa Rao, a director of investments at ICICI, quit the firm to head up Morgan Stanley Private Equity’s activities in India.

In June 2007, Jayanta Banerjee, another seasoned professional at ICICI Venture, left the firm to head Lehman Brothers’ private equity activities in India. He, however, rejoined ICICI six months later and is currently a senior director for corporate and strategic initiatives.

ICICI Venture manages assets of more than $2 billion (€1.4 billion) across real estate, private equity and mezzanine funds. The firm has ambitious growth plans and is reportedly looking at growing its assets under management to $10 billion by 2010, according to a January report in the Economic Times. This will be done by raising one fund each for private equity, real estate and infrastructure, the report noted.