Ex-Goldman banker to lead Permira's China push

In addition to the appointment of former Goldman Sachs banker Alan Chen (pictured) as head of China, the firm also named former Alix Partners director Christian Paul as portfolio director.

In a bid to realise its “near-term goal” of investing in mainland China, London-headquartered private equity firm Permira has hired former Goldman Sachs banker Alan Chen as head of China.

Chen is the latest investment banker to move to private equity, and is the second Goldman executive appointed by a major buyout house.

In May for example, US private equity firm TPG Capital appointed Steve Sun as partner in a move to boost its China team. Like Chen, Sun was previously at Goldman Sachs, where he was a managing director of the firm’s Principal Investment Area private equity unit .

Alongside the hiring of Chen, Permira has also appointed Christian Paul as portfolio director. Both Paul and Chen will be based in Hong Kong.

“With significant capital already successfully deployed across the region, we see strong appetite in China to create partnerships with entrepreneurs and families to help them accelerate the growth of their businesses,” the firm said in a statement.

The hires followed the firm’s appointment of Henry Chen and Alex Emery as co-heads of Asia in January to grow its business in the region. In a recent interview with PE Asia, Henry Chen talked about how the firm’s taking on the China challenge.

Prior to joining Permira, Alan Chen worked as executive director in the Asian Special Situations Group at Goldman in Hong Kong, where he spent more than nine years. He also worked in Goldman’s corporate finance group of the investment banking division. Previously, he spent three years at HSBC.

Paul was formerly a director at consulting firm Alix Partners in Shanghai for four years. He was previously with KPMG in Berlin and Roland Berger in Berlin and Beijing.

With Asian offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo, Permira has thus far invested in three companies in the region: the Macau gaming and hotel business Galaxy Entertainment, the Tokyo-based international agrochemicals business Arysta and Hong Kong-headquartered satellite business Asia Broadcast Satellite.

The European firm has set a target of €6.5 billion for Permira V, 33 percent lower than the €9.6 billion it garnered for its last buyout vehicle, according to investor sources.