Liang Meng leaves JPMorgan for top private equity job

Meng swaps his current role as co-head of China investment banking to become CEO of DE Shaw's private equity unit in Greater China.
Liang Meng, JPMorganÆs co-head of China investment banking, has resigned from the firm and will be joining DE Shaw Group as chief executive officer of its newly formed Greater China private equity unit. The appointment was announced in a release issued late last night by the New York headquartered hedge fund.

Commenting on the appointment, Louis Salkind, a managing director of DE Shaw & Co who has overall management responsibility for the firm's global private equity activities, noted the ôrich universe of investment prospectsö in China. ôLiang, with his wealth of knowledge, relationships and experience on the ground, is uniquely suited to enable the DE Shaw group to best capitalise on these opportunities,ö Salkind said.

MengÆs departure from JPMorgan, which he joined in January 2003, comes in connection with the annual bonus payout season. News of bankers switching firms makes headlines pretty much daily, but sources say this story doesnÆt fit the usual profile.

A clear sign of that is the fact that Meng, despite having handed in his resignation, continues to work at the US investment bank and plans to do so for another couple of months before he begins his new job in May.

ôHe is leaving on great terms, but this is such a unique opportunity that he just couldnÆt reject it,ö says one source.

Another person notes that MengÆs resignation was not a sudden thing, but rather a move that he has planned for some time together with JPMorgan.

Meng initially joined JPMorgan as a vice president responsible primarily for mergers and acquisitions in China, but his role expanded over the years to also include capital markets. Most recently he worked on China Merchants BankÆs $2.4 billion Hong Kong IPO in September.

During his more than four years with the firm, Meng also worked on China NetcomÆs acquisition of a $1 billion stake in PCCW and on the sale of an 85% stake in ChinaÆs largest construction machinery manufacturer Xugong Group Construction Machinery to The Carlyle Group.

He was also involved in CNOOCÆs $19.6 billion bid for US oil producer Unocal, where JPMorgan was an advisor for the Chinese oil major. The bid did fail, but broke a lot of new ground that helped opened the door for other Chinese companies looking for acquisitions overseas.

People close to the bank say Meng was known for his good reputation and relationship with clients. However, JPMorgan will be in no need to replace him in the short term as the rest of the team, including MengÆs co-head of China investment banking, Fang Fang, will fill in the vacancy.

Before he joined JPMorgan in Hong Kong, Meng was working at Credit Suisse First Boston in New York focusing on M&A within the media and telecoms sectors.

He will continue to be based in Hong Kong in his new role.

According to its website, the DE Shaw group is a global investment and technology development firm with an international reputation for financial innovation and technological leadership. It has about $25 billion in aggregate investment capital.

Earlier this week US-based Darby Overseas Investments announced that it had hired JPMorganÆs head of Asia-Pacific capital markets as a senior managing director responsible for Asia-Pacific. Darby is the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton Investments.
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