KKR takes on Sir John Bond as senior advisor

AmericaÆs largest buy-out firm adds to its growing collection of China experts.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) announced Wednesday it was hiring former group chairman of HSBC Sir John Bond as senior advisor.

The appointment of Bond reflects KKRÆs determination to move up a gear in China, where it has lagged private equity firms such as TPG and Carlyle, as well as the principal investment arms of investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

KKR also announced this week that it had hired Liu Chuanzhi, the founder of Chinese personal computer company Lenovo, and China Netcom Group vice chairman Edward Tian as senior advisors. In January this year, KKR poached the well-regarded head of Asian private equity, David Liu, from Morgan Stanley to lead its investment activity in China. A month later, KKR recruited Ming Lu, a partner at CCMP Capital Asia (formerly JPMorgan Partners Asia), as managing director. Both are based in Hong Kong.

Bond will strengthen KKRÆs bench even further. China was û and still is û a key market for HSBC and Bond is sure to bring excellent high-level contacts, as well as expertise, to KKR.

BondÆs banking experience in China is likely to be particularly valuable given the spate of deals being announced in the Chinese financial sector. Spanish bank BBVA announced this week it was buying 5% of CITIC group and 15% of Hong Kongûlisted CITIC International Financial, while Australia and New Zealand Banking Group also agreed this week to buy a 19.9% stake in ChinaÆs Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank.

Bond, who stepped down from HSBC in May this year after almost half a century at the bank, is currently full-time chairman of the Vodafone group, but holds a number of other advisory posts, including being the chairman of the mayor of ShanghaiÆs international business leadersÆ advisory council, and a member of the China Development Forum û which provides advice to the Chinese government. He is also currently consulting for Bill Ford Jr, the chairman of Ford, leading some observers to speculate as to whether he is spreading himself too thin.

Until recently, KKR held the record for the biggest-ever management buy-out, namely the $31 billion transaction involving RJR Nabisco in 1989. That record has been broken twice this year alone.
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