Richdale’s run to KKR – a tale of two trends


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The steady drift of Asia investment bankers into private equity continued in March with Kate Richdale’s departure from Goldman Sachs for KKR.

people_structure_780Richdale, one of a rare group to have been head of Asia investment banking at both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, will become KKR’s head of strategy and business development in Asia Pacific. KKR says she will “also work with KKR’s Asia investing business to assist in advancing the deal origination pipeline.”

Departures like these have become a recurring theme in Asia. Last year Mervyn Chow, the former Greater China CEO and co-head of Asia Pacific investment banking at Credit Suisse, joined Hillhouse Capital. And Robby Winarta, Credit Suisse’s Indonesia investment banking head, joined Carlyle in May.

One can see the appeal.

In another enduring theme, Richdale’s departure thins the ranks of women in truly senior investment banking roles in Asia. For the best part of 20 years she was a rare female presence when Euromoney made its rounds for the awards for excellence pitches.

The retirement of UBS’s Kathryn Shih, who had a wealth management background but rose to oversee all the bank’s operations in Asia including investment banking, exacerbates the imbalance.

Morgan Stanley’s Wei Christianson and JPMorgan’s Jing Ulrich are still at the top; and at DBS Tan Su Shan’s shift from running consumer and wealth to institutional is significant.

But few are joining them. Euromoney attended a bank media lunch in Singapore which happened to fall on International Women’s Day. Fifteen senior bankers stood up and introduced themselves; one was a woman.