US private equity giant KKR has shuffled its Asia leadership, with Ming Lu named sole head of Asia PE, following the departure of his former co-head David Liu along with China head Julian Wolhardt to start a mainland-focused investment firm. The firm has also hired a new head of Southeast Asia and created senior posts in China and Korea.

Lu will serve as interim head of China until KKR appoints a successor and continues to report to Joseph Bae, who continues in his role as managing partner for Asia.

It is understood that Liu and Wolhardt will remain with KKR until the end of the year, when they will transition to becoming advisers to the firm.

Ashish Shastry will start as KKR's head of Southeast Asia in October. He has 18 years of private equity experience and joined from Singapore-based PE firm Northstar Group, where he served as a managing partner since 2012. The Southeast Asia role had previously been under Lu's remit.

It is understood that Shastry’s responsibilities at Northstar will be split between the firm's co-chief investment officers Sunata Tjiterosampurno and Tan Choon Hong.

Prior to Northstar, he was head of Southeast Asia at TPG Capital, where he held various investment roles from 1998 onwards.

Other new joiners include Ji Zhen, who will start in September as a managing director of KKR in China. Ji was previously at Citic Capital, where he had served as an MD since 2009. Prior to that, he held various investment and management roles at EQT Partners, Monitor Group, Metainternet and Microsoft.

Lim Hyoung-Seok will come on board at KKR as a managing director in Korea in November. He was most recently founding partner of Compass LKL, a London-based investment solutions firm focused on Korean investors. Lim has 23 years of management consulting and operational experience, including 15 years at McKinsey, where he was a partner in the Seoul office, and roles at LG Electronics.

These appointments come after Rob Yang joined KKR earlier in the summer as a managing director leading KKR's real estate business in Greater China. Yang was previously with The Blackstone Group, where he was a leader of the China team for the last nine years, helping to establish the firm's China real estate investment platform.

Lu joined KKR in 2006, soon after the firm opened its Hong Kong office. Prior to KKR he was a partner in the Hong Kong office of CCMP (formerly JP Morgan Partners Asia). Before that, he worked at Lucas Varity, an automotive component supplier, and at Kraft Foods International and Citic.