Blackstone’s Antony Leung is joining Nan Fung as its chief executive from February after helping the private equity firm establish a business across Greater China.
Leung, Hong Kong’s former financial secretary and Blackstone’s chairman for Greater China, will retain a senior advisory role at Blackstone as a member of its international advisory board.
“Blackstone is in a very strong position in China, with deep relationships across the firm in the mainland and Hong Kong. Antony played a major role in helping to build these relationships,” said Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chief executive, chairman and co-founder, in a statement.
Leung, 62, joined the New York-based investment firm in 2007 as co-head with a remit to help it develop a network among senior decision makers, to build a team and help sign deals.
During his nearly seven years at Blackstone, Leung has helped convince China’s sovereign wealth fund CIC to invest $3 billion in Blackstone and introduced the firm to corporate executives.
The team in Hong Kong has steadily grown: senior managing directors in real estate, Chris Heady and Stuart Grant, moved to Asia in 2007 and 2010 respectively, while Michael Chae moved from New York to lead Asian private equity investments in 2010. At that point Leung took on the chairmanship role.
Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm, now more than 120 people in Greater China and more than 220 people across the Asia-Pacific region.
Blackstone’s deal making in China has gathered momentum this year.
The firm this month acquired a 40% stake in Chinese shopping mall owner SCP for about US$400 million. In October it bought Nasdaq-listed Pactera Technology International, a China-based consulting and technology services provider, as part of a consortium for about $600 million.
In August it agreed to buy Hong Kong-listed property and construction group Tysan Holdings - which owns real estate in mainland China - for US$322.6 million.
Blackstone has also made investments in Shanghai, Dalian, Nantong and Wuhan.
In one deal, Blackstone bought Shanghai’s Huamin Imperial Tower, which has 50,000 square meters of office space.
Schwarzman said in Hong Kong last October that China’s economic slowdown was creating opportunities to invest.
Blackstone has no plans to replace the 62-year-old Leung.
Fresh start at 62
Founded in 1954, Nan Fung has interests in property development, property investment, construction, property management, investment and financing. Nan Fung owns a portfolio of residential, commercial and industrial properties.
“Since my late father, Dr. D.H. Chen, founded the group in the early 1950s, we have gone from strength to strength and we have every confidence that Antony will lead us into an era of even greater growth,” said Vivien Chen, Nan Fung’s chairman, in a statement on Tuesday.
Leung was Hong Kong’s financial secretary from 2001 to 2003. From 1997 to 2001 he was a non-official member of the city’s executive council.
Prior to his stint as Hong Kong’s financial secretary, Leung had 28 years of financial services experience.
He was chairman of Asia for JP Morgan Chase, based in Hong Kong, between 1996 and 2001. Before that he worked for Citi in Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila and New York for 23 years in various positions including country corporate officer for China and Hong Kong.