Despite the credit crunch and malaise in the financial markets, Credit Suisse Private Equity Asia has made two senior hires, continuing the expansion of its Asian private equity team that began last year.
In April 2007, Credit Suisse Private Equity Asia – which takes minority stakes in small to mid-size firms – plucked a team of six investment professionals from hedge fund group Ritchie Capital, including chairman and chief executive of Asia at Ritchie, Harjit Bhatia.
In October, the firm appointed Steven Kwok and Sokho Jung as managing directors for Greater China and Korea respectively. Based in Hong Kong, they will be responsible for originating and advising private equity opportunities, and will report directly to Bhatia, now managing partner and head of Credit Suisse Private Equity Asia.
Kwok joins Credit Suisse from Bear Stearns Private Equity, which is now JPMorgan Private Equity following the sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorgan in March. He was a senior managing director as well as head of the Eagle China Retail and Consumer Fund. Before Bear Stearns, Kwok was a managing director at Orchid Asia, a China-focussed growth capital fund.
Prior to that, Kwok was a Hong Kong-based head of Greater China at UBS Capital, where he was responsible for augmenting and managing its Greater China growth capital investments. Before UBS, Kwok was vice president at The Carlyle Group where he sourced and invested in expansion-stage companies in Greater China. He has also worked for Salomon Brothers in New York and Hong Kong.
Jung joins the firm from Standard Chartered Private Equity, where he was head of Korea from 2002. He also led the buyout practice which covered Asian markets. Previously, Jung was at Lone Star Advisors Korea, the Korean arm of the US buyout specialist, where he spearheaded the distressed asset investment team.
Prior to Lone Star, Jung was a senior investment officer at GIC Special Investments, the private equity unit of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
These appointments coincide with the recent spike in hires of senior private equity positions in Asia, by both banks and non-banks, showing that the credit drought has not diminished their desire to expand in the region.