Carlyle strengthens Japan team

The private equity firm hires Masao Hirano from McKinsey as co-head of Japan buyouts and appoints Takeshi Isayama as chairman in Japan.
Private equity firm The Carlyle Group announced on September 25 that it has appointed Masao Hirano as co-head of the firmÆs Japan buyout team. Simultaneously, Takeshi Isayama will become chairman of Carlyle Japan.

Hirano will join on November 1 and share responsibility for Japan buyouts with Tamotsu Adachi, existing managing director and head of Japan buyouts.

Hirano joins from McKinsey where he is currently a director with experience in corporate strategy, mergers and acquisitions and organisational development. HiranoÆs industry expertise spans high technology, telecommunications, media, finance, pharmaceuticals and consumer. He led a team of more than 200 consultants as president of McKinsey for Japan for eight years.

Isayama is a career bureaucrat who spent a number of years in senior positions with a focus on economic and trade issues. After retiring from the government, Isayama has held the post of vice chairman of Nissan Motor. His appointment, effective October 1, is expected to strengthen CarlyleÆs relationships with the top management of Japanese companies.

ôWe expect the Japan buyout market will continue its growth trajectory,ö explains Carlyle's Adachi in a written statement, commenting on the rationale underlying the firm strengthening its team. ôIn July last year Carlyle closed its second buyout fund, a Ñ215.6 billion Japan-dedicated fund that is four times larger than the previous fund.ö

CarlyleÆs Japan practice, based in Tokyo, is staffed by a team of all-Japanese professionals. The ôlocalö approach Carlyle has adopted in the country is generally regarded as one of the reasons for the success that Carlyle has enjoyed in the country.

Carlyle was also a relatively early entrant in Japan, seeing its potential at a time when the concept of private equity led restructuring was still unheard of. Despite the size of the countryÆs financial markets, deals are still conducted mostly bilaterally between willing buyers and sellers; buyouts by financial sponsors only took off as recently as the early-90s. But for those who persisted, Japan has yielded large opportunities û much larger than those in other parts of Asia.

There has been nervousness about what the spill-over effect of the US subprime crisis will be on Asian banking markets and specifically on Japan. Further, the future of buyout type private equity deals has also been questioned in the current environment where liquidity is scarce.

CarlyleÆs announcement that it is strengthening its Japan team signals - perhaps more strongly then any statements could - that it remains optimistic about the future.
¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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