Blackstone appoints Michael Chae as Asia head

The senior managing director will head to Hong Kong from New York and will take charge of the firm’s investor relations in the region.

The Blackstone Group has appointed Michael Chae, currently a senior managing director of the firm, to head its Asia operations.

Chae will make the move from New York to Hong Kong, where he will also head up Asian investor relations for the firm, taking responsibility for Blackstone’s LP marketing personnel in Asia Pacific and the developing of relationships with the firm’s LPs in the region, according to a company statement.

“As our business continues to globalise, Asia is becoming ever more central to the firm. The region is of strategic importance to us in terms of both the extraordinary investment opportunities and the critical role that Asian institutions are playing in our funds,” Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone, said in the statement.

Michael Chae

Blackstone expects to “be better positioned than ever to capture an ever-growing number of opportunities” under Chae’s leadership, Schwarzman added.

Following Chae’s appointment, Antony Leung remains as Blackstone’s chairman for Greater China and Ben Jenkins will continue to lead private equity transactions throughout Asia, according to the statement.

Chae, who joined Blackstone in 1997, has led investments in the US including The Weather Channel, in which the firm invested $3.63 billion in September 2008, and Hilton Hotels, which the firm acquired for $26.93 billion in October 2007.

Before joining Blackstone, he worked as an associate at The Carlyle Group. He graduated from Harvard University and received post-graduate degrees from Cambridge University and Yale Law School.

Chae’s appointment adds ballast to the New York-headquartered firm’s Asia push.

In September, Schwarzman said publicly the firm would invest “a lot more” in India in addition to the $1.2 billion already invested. Media reports also suggested Blackstone expected to increase its investment in the country to up to $3 billion over the next five years.

In China, the RMB5 billion-targeted Blackstone Zhonghua Development Investment Fund reached the halfway point in fundraising in July. In the same month, the firm made an investment in China-based animal pharmaceutical company China Animal Healthcare (CAH) via a subscription of $45 million worth of convertible bonds and shares.

Blackstone currently has 157 employees in Asia across offices in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and Mumbai.