PARTNER LEAVES PANTHEON IN HONG KONG

Pantheon Ventures, the global fund of funds manager, has a vacancy to fill at its Asian headquarters in Hong Kong after Eric Chan, a partner, left the firm at the end of August. The departure was described as amicable.

Chan joined Pantheon in 1996. Together with fellow partner Chris Meads, he was responsible for the firm's investment activity in Asia covering primary fund investments, direct co-investment and private equity secondaries.

Meads said in an interview that Pantheon was currently in the process of completing the investment programme of its third Asia fund, with over $150 million of capital deployed. A campaign to raise Asia Fund IV was in preparation, although an official launch date remained to be set, he said.

To replace Chan, Meads added, Pantheon would aim to recruit a private equity professional with first hand knowledge of the Asian market place.

Meads, who was educated in New Zealand, has been with Pantheon since 2001 after a twelve-year career in banking and financial services. Working with a Hong-Kong based junior professional, Meads reports to Andrew Lebus, a London-based partner who spent eight years in the Asian office and continues to oversee Pantheon's activities in Asia.

Pantheon, founded in 1982, has invested in the Asian market since inception and opened its Hong Kong office in 1992. It claims to have been the first international private equity group to have established a presence in the Far East.

The firm's managing partner and co-founder Rhoddy Swire, although London-based, has a personal connection with business in Asia. He is a member of the influential Swire family in Hong Kong and earlier in his career worked for John Swire & Sons Limited in Hong Kong and Sydney.

Under Swire's leadership, Pantheon raised a $66.5 million dedicated Asia fund in 1994. Asian funds II and III followed in 1998 and 2002, respectively.

In December 2003, the firm became part of Russell Investment Group. It currently has commitments to some 500 private equity partnerships. In July, it closed Pantheon Global Secondary Fund II, a $900 million fund that will invest in Europe, North America and Asia.