ChrysCap fund suspended as MD Kohli departs

Gulpreet Kohli’s departure after 14 years of service has triggered a key man event

ChrysCapital, one of India’s longest standing GPs, has lost another one of its managing directors, Gulpreet Kohli, who has departed the firm to explore other opportunities, people familiar with the matter told Private Equity International.

Kohli joined the firm in 2000, four months after its founding, and is a key man in its sixth private equity vehicle, which is $510 million in size and 60 percent deployed. There are no current plans to replace him and Kohli's next move is unconfirmed, although he is expected to resurface in financial services. He declined to comment. 

His departure has triggered a key man event, with the fund now suspended as LPs decide whether to allow it to continue investing. A decision is expected in the next 30 days.

LPs are likely to approve ending the fund suspension as it is so far deployed, however there are concerns about team stability, one source close to the firm said.

Since 2012, ChrysCapital’s management team has depleted by half, with four of the firm’s eight leading figures departing.

Ashish Dhawan, the firm’s founder and senior managing director, stepped down from his role in 2012 to pursue other interests including education and philanthropy. While he stayed on to manage out existing funds, Dhawan was not involved in the sixth vehicle as an investment team member. 

At the same time, managing director Brahmal Vasudevan left to start his own Kuala Lumpur-based fund Creador, while another managing director Ravi Bahl stepped down last year.

“The big [question] is around team stability. LPs are very worried about it and that has created a lot of problems for the existing team,” one source said.

“The crux of the story is that post-Ashish’s departure there is no clear leadership in the firm right now. I think that has created a lot of trouble, it is not the only reason, but I think it is the big reason for people to decide to [leave and] do things on their own.”

The biggest issue will be when the firm comes to raise its next vehicle.

The source added, “It is very unlikely that the suspension will not be removed because it is not in anybody’s favour, as then you are putting the [deployed] 60 percent at risk. The big issue will be how ChrysCapital moves on and does in its next phase.”

ChrysCapital has been considered one of India’s best performing GPs, having returned money to investors from its previous funds and successfully raising six vehicles even in a difficult macroeconomic environment.