Weekly roundup of people news, June 9

BlackRock's China chief steps down; AXA group reshuffles management team; Wellington Management's global layoffs affect Hong Kong; Australia's ART hires three executives; DWS names Korea and Singapore real estate heads; and more.
Weekly roundup of people news, June 9


Tony Tang

BlackRock’s head of China Tony Tang is leaving the company after being instrumental in establishing and expanding the firm’s onshore presence for four years, the company confirmed with AsianInvestor.

A BlackRock spokesperson said Tang "has expressed an interest in exploring opportunities" outside the firm.  The spokesperson did not provide a departure date for Tang.

Susan Chan, BlackRock's deputy head of Asia Pacific and head of Greater China,  now directly overseeing the onshore business in China.

Chan sits on the firm's global executive committee.

Tang joined BlackRock as head of China in July 2019. 

Under his leadership, BlackRock established a wholly-owned China fund management unit, and a wealth management joint venture with China Construction Bank and Temasek, the BlackRock CCB Wealth Management.

Tang is a veteran in China’s financial markets and a former securities regulator, having served in senior roles with the China Securities Regulatory Commission from 2010 to 2014, including deputy director-general of Department of International Affairs and Department of Fund Supervision.

Before joining BlackRock, he was chief executive officer with China Asset Management and GF Holdings (Hong Kong) Corporation.

Tang did not respond to a request for comment. 


The AXA group announced a slew of changes to its management committee for the launch of its next strategic plan, which will be presented in the first quarter of 2024.

Gordon Watson

One development in the leadup is that AXA Japan and AXA Greater China (Hong Kong and China) will report directly to George Stansfield, group deputy CEO and general secretary.

Sally Wan remains CEO of Greater China.

Gordon Watson, current CEO for Asia and Africa, will become non-executive chairman for Asia and will step down from AXA’s management committee.

Watson joined AXA as chief executive officer for Asia, including Japan, in January 2018.

In addition, Hassan El-Shabrawishi, CEO of AXA Africa, becomes CEO International Markets, and will oversee AXA’s operations in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, India and Southeast Asia.

Hassan El-Shabrawishi will also join AXA’s Management Committee reporting to Thomas Buberl, CEO.


Wellington Management has cut 5% of its global staff. The company said the roles are not concentrated in any specific business area or geography.

AsianInvestor understands there are at least six departures in Hong Kong, including 

A spokesperson declined to confirm any of the departures to AsianInvestor out of privacy considerations of the individuals concerned.

“These changes will help us maintain the strength and stability our clients rely on, innovate and evolve our capabilities, and attract, retain and develop the best talent in the industry,” the spokesperson added.


Lachlan East

Australian Retirement Trust (ART) has announced new appointments to its executive team, including Lachlan East as the new chief member officer.

East was previously ART's chief of staff and Sunsuper's chief risk officer.

He is now responsible for member operations portfolio, member service experience, and anticipating and advocating for future member needs.

Julie Bingham

Julie Bingham will replace East as chief of staff.

She is currently the fund's general manager, member engagement.

She has been with the fund, previously Sunsuper, for eight years, and also previously held roles with the Association of Financial Advisers, ING Australia and Bankers Trust.

Anne Fuchs

Meanwhile, Anne Fuchs has been promoted to executive general manager of advice, guidance and education, reflecting ART's strategic commitment to the external financial adviser market.

Fuchs, was most recently head of advice, guidance and education at ART.

ART is also recruiting for its first chief of retirement, with an announcement expected in coming weeks.


Chris Lerner

Private equity business Bonaccord Capital Partners has entered into a strategic agreement with Singapore-based asset manager Asia Heritage.

Chris Lerner has been appointed as operating partner to lead Bonaccord Capital Partners' activities in Asia.

Lerner is the chairman of Asia Heritage’s parent company, Verse Holdings.

He will be responsible for providing strategic support to Bonaccord's portfolio companies in crafting and executing capital formation initiatives in Asia.

The partnership will supplement Bonaccord’s resources in North America, Europe, and the Middle East to support its portfolio companies’ institutional priorities.


Jung-hoon (Phil) Kook

DWS has appointed Jung-hoon (Phil) Kook head of real estate in Korea, based in Seoul and Leiting Deng as head of real estate in Singapore based in the city state, effective February, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

Both positions report to Christopher Kimm, head of real estate in Asia Pacific. Kimm took over this regional role in 2021 after being head of real estate in Korea, which he also oversaw until the appointment of Kook, the spokesperson said.

Kook joined DWS in 2021 and has led the transactions team in Korea.

In his new role, he joins DWS Korea’s board of directors and will continue to lead the local transactions team.

Prior to joining DWS, Kook was head of real estate and structured finance division at Shinhan Asset Management.

Leiting Deng

Deng joined DWS in 2013.

Her newly created and expanded role will see her continue as a portfolio manager for the Asian funds business in addition to overseeing the growth of the Singapore real estate platform.

Previously, she covered the Australian and Chinese markets in transactions and asset management.


Mika Kania

Real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) has appointed Mika Kania as senior director of sustainability and environment, social and governance (ESG) in Asia Pacific, effective May 18, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

In this newly created role, Kania joins C&W’s sustainability and ESG team supporting both occupier and investor clients looking to achieve their net-zero goals.

Based in Hong Kong, she will report to Matt Clifford, head of sustainability and ESG in Asia Pacific.

Kania joins from JLL where her role was senior director of sustainability services in Asia Pacific until April 2023, according to her LinkedIn profile. 

A JLL spokesperson told AsianInvestor that Kania left earlier this year.

“We’ve consolidated our sustainability solutions under Elke Kornalijnslijper’s leadership,” the spokesperson added, referring to the appointment of Kornalijnslijper as head of sustainability consulting in Asia Pacific, announced in April.


Durraini Baharuddin

Durraini Baharuddin joined Malaysia’s national reinsurance group MNRB Group as its new chief investment officer.

She continues to be based in Kuala Lumpur.

She succeeded former CIO Ahkter Abdul Manan, who retired after 15 years.

Before joining MNRB, Baharuddin was with Value Partners Malaysia for over four years and was most recently managing director. She has previously also worked for Franklin Templeton Malaysia.


Anthony Habis

MA Financial Group has appointed Anthony Habis as managing director and head of real estate partnerships in its asset management division.

He will be based in Sydney, relocating from New York.

Habis, a global asset management veteran, will focus on building the firm's global institutional investor relationships in the real estate sector, particularly in the Middle East.

Habis was previously with BNY Mellon, where he served for five years, most recently as its global head of client coverage in asset servicing. 

Habis will work alongside MA's head of institutional capital, Mike Pyke, and the firm's investment teams to implement an institutional client strategy and to bring the firm's suite of alternative asset capabilities to global investors.

BNY Mellon did not respond to an AsianInvestor query on whether a successor was named for Habis.


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