As it expands beyond Australia and continues to beef up its presence in Asia, Macquarie has gone on a hiring spree in India. In the last few weeks it has added two heads to its corporate finance practice.

Varun Bajpai has joined Macquarie as managing director and head of corporate finance. Prior to this he was a vice president at Deutsche Bank based in India.

He has also worked with Kotak Mahindra on the investment banking side and Citibank after completing his MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata in 2000. He reports to Andrew Low, head of Asian corporate finance for Macquarie, based in Hong Kong.

Mudit Gera joins Macquarie as assistant vice president and part of Bajpai's team. He comes from ICICI Securities, where he spent four years working in the investment banking services pool of associates.

During this time, he gained significant experience on transactions in the telecom, media and technology domain. He has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

The third member of the corporate finance team is an associate recruited from Kotak Mahindra.

On the equities side Macquarie has hired Jal Irani also from ICICI Securities. Irani is a stalwart of the business, well known among fund managers for his coverage of petrochemical companies and specifically Reliance Industries. FinanceAsia readers may recall seeing Irani's name in connection with a feature on the split-up of the Reliance Group published in the July issue of the magazine. That quote was one of Irani's last in his earlier capacity as oil and gas analyst for ICICI Securities.

Irani will now be heading Macquarie's India research practice. He spent three years at ICICI Securities and before that eight at Jardine Fleming/JPMorgan.

Given that one of his most important priorities will be to build up a research team, more hires can be expected shortly.