KKR is expanding its leadership team in Asia with the addition of two new managing directors in Beijing and Seoul, and the appointment of a head of south-east Asia based in Singapore.
According to a statement from KKR, which is now entering its second decade of investing in Asia, former CITIC Group managing director Zhen Ji will become managing director of KKR China, ex-McKinsey & Company chief operating officer Hyoung Seok Lim will join as managing director of KKR Korea, and Ashish Shastry, formerly of Indonesia-focused Northstar Group, will take on the role of head of south-east Asia.
Along with the new hires, KKR has named Ming Lu, previously co-head of Asia private equity, as the sole head of Asia private equity. Two senior members of the firm – co-head of Asia private equity David Liu and head of China Julian Wolhardt – are leaving KKR at the end of the year to set up a China-focused investment firm. They will serve as KKR advisors following their departure. Lu will serve as interim head of China until a replacement is found.
KKR is currently investing its $6 billion Asian II Fund, which targets deals in consumer, healthcare, retail, education and industrials, as well as a $1 billion China Growth Fund that will invest between $30 million to $70 million in growth equity stakes in Chinese companies, according to PEI data.
The firm is reportedly looking to raise $7 billion for its third Asia-dedicated buyout fund in 2017.
KKR first established its presence in Asia in 2005 and has since invested about $10 billion in private equity investments. The firm has more than 120 executives and senior advisors in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.