Weekly roundup of people news, Sept 29

Ping An names new co-CEO; former Ontario Teachers' executive takes on new role; BlackRock's China wealth management JV names new CIO; AIA hires group partnerships lead; GIC names deputy chairman; IFC appoints regional head in Asia; and more.
Weekly roundup of people news, Sept 29


Jessica Tan

Ping An Insurance appointed Michael Guo Xiaotao as the new co-CEO, effective September 27, after co-CEO and Executive Vice President Jessica Tan resigned for personal and family reasons.

Tan will continue to work at Ping An until December 31, 2023, and will continue to serve as a company director.

Tan joined Ping An in 2013, progressively taking on more responsibilities as group chief information officer, chief operating officer and then deputy CEO. She was promoted to executive vice president and co-CEO in 2018.

Prior to joining Ping An, Tan was a global partner of McKinsey & Company.

Michael Guo Xiaotao

New co-CEO Guo was chief human resources officer of the group previously.

He will be responsible for leading Ping An’s healthcare and elderlycare strategy and technology business-related strategies, and will be in charge of insurance companies and related member companies.

Guo joined Ping An Group in September 2019. He served as executive vice president of Ping An Property & Casualty Insurance and the chief human resources officer of the group since 2019. Prior to joining Ping An, he was a global partner and managing director at Boston Consulting.

The other co-CEO is Xie Yonglin, who is also executive director and president of Ping An.


Amit Sobti

Platinum Equity LLC, a private equity firm based in the United States, has appointed Amit Sobti to lead its operations in Asia as part of its efforts to expand dealmaking in the region.

Sobti, who recently co-lead direct investments for Asia-Pacific at Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, joined Platinum Equity this month, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Sobti had been with the Ontario Teachers’ for over seven years. He began working for the Canadian pension fund in their Hong Kong office in 2016 before relocating to Singapore in 2020.

Sobti's appointment will reportedly fill the position left vacant by Soo Jin Goh, who departed from Platinum Equity last year. He will remain in Singapore.

The departure of Sobti from Ontario Teachers' also follows the exits of two senior executives in Asia earlier this year.

In related news, Ontario Teachers' recently expanded the role of Cindy Yan, who is now responsible officer for Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (Asia) Limited, which the pension fund confirmed to AsianInvestor.

Yan currently leads the direct and co-investment activities and portfolio management for Ontario Teachers' in Asia Pacific, a role she recently shared with Sobti.


Liu Rui

BlackRock CCB Wealth Management appointed Liu Rui as the new chief investment officer, subject to regulatory approval.

Liu is based in Shanghai and is jointly reporting to Susan Chan, BlackRock’s head of Greater China, and Hua Fan, BlackRock CCB Wealth’s general manager, a BlackRock spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

Liu rejoins BlackRock from China Merchant Bank’s Wealth Management subsidiary, where he was head of the fund of funds division, and responsible for the firm’s asset allocation and manager selection, while acting as portfolio manager of various multi-asset and multi-strategy funds.

Before that, he spent five years at Ping An Asset Management as deputy head of the fund of funds division. He began his career in 2011 as part of BlackRock’s risk and quantitative analysis team in New York.

Liu replaces George Zhu, who has moved back to Australia to be close to his family after five years at BlackRock in China.

George Zhu

He has joined BlackRock’s multi-asset strategies and solutions team in Sydney, the spokesperson said.

BlackRock CCB Wealth is BlackRock’s majority-owned wealth management joint venture in China in partnership with China Construction Bank.


George Stavliotis

Life insurer AIA has hired George Stavliotis as its new general manager for group partnerships.

His responsibilities will include managing AIA's client development team, overseeing current group partners, and leading contract renewals.

Based in Sydney, Stavliotis will report to Anthony Clough, the chief group insurance officer at AIA.

Stavliotis previously held the position of vice president, client management at Swiss Re and has also worked in various roles at Reinsurance Group of America and CommInsure. 

AIA serves as the group insurer for several super funds, such as HESTA, ESSSuper, Vanguard Super, AvSuper, and the recently launched Hejaz Islamic Super and Pension offer.


GIC has appointed Lawrence Wong, currently GIC director, as deputy chairman, effective October 1.

Wong will assist the chairman to lead the board in overseeing GIC’s long-term asset allocation and portfolio performance.

Lawrence Wong

Wong has been a GIC director and chairman of the investment strategies committee since November 1, 2018, and July 7, 2023, respectively.

Wong succeeds Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who resigned from the position in July to run in the 2023 presidential election.

Shanmugaratnam, who served as GIC deputy chairman from 2019 to 2023, was elected president on September 1.

Wong is currently Singapore’s deputy prime minister and finance minister.

He is also chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and chairman of Singapore Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council.

He is also a member of the Future Economy Council, the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council and the National Research Foundation Board.

Anna Ng

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) appointed Anna Ng as its new regional head of operations for East Asia and the Pacific, and head of office for Hong Kong.

As regional head of operations, Ng is responsible for strategy formulation, facilitation and oversight of investment and advisory programs, and fundraising efforts in East Asia and the Pacific. 

As head of office for Hong Kong, she will work closely with regional investment and advisory teams to help drive cross-border investments and capital mobilisation between Hong Kong-based companies and financial institutions in emerging markets and developing economies globally.

Based in Hong Kong, Ng will report to Lim Kim-See, regional director, East Asia and the Pacific. Ng succeeds Hester DeCasper, who is now in Vienna serving as IFC’s regional head of operations for Europe, the firm told AsianInvestor.

Ng most recently served as IFC's senior country officer for Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore. She contributed to growing IFC's knowledge and business partnerships with the government and private sector clients in Singapore, and was instrumental in establishing IFC's presence in Malaysia.

Her successor as senior country officer for Brunei, Malaysia, and Singapore will be announced in due course, the firm said.

Prior to joining IFC in 2017, Ng worked in various roles for the Singapore government.


Bhargav Dasgupta

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has named Bhargav Dasgupta as its vice-resident for market solutions for a three-year term.

Dasgupta will manage the operations of ADB's private sector operations department and office of markets development and public–private partnerships.

Dasgupta has over 35 years of financial industry expertise in various economies, particularly in Asia and the Pacific.

Dasgupta was previously managing director and chief executive officer of ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company, and was with the company for 14 years. He stepped down from the role on September 14.

Dasgupta had been scheduled to step down from his position at ICICI Lombard in April 2024 after completing a 15-year term.

Under his guidance, ICICI successfully conducted its initial public offering, making it the first listed general insurance company in India.

He is credited with playing a vital role in driving ICICI's globalisation and insurance business growth.


Kimon Kouryialas

Sydney-based Apostle Funds Management (Apostle) appointed Kimon Kouryialas as director and head of global distribution, effective early October.

In this newly created role, Kouryialas will be reporting to Apostle’s managing director Karyn West and director Mitch Gunman, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

“Offshore, other than New Zealand which has been done through a strategic partnership with Heathcote, has not been in our remit. The addition of Kouryialas to the team aligns with our growth story in building out our firm and its capabilities as we are seeing demand for the Apostle branded products offshore," the spokesperson added.

Kouryialas joins Apostle from Martin Currie, a global active equity specialist company under Franklin Templeton, where he was co-head of global distribution.

Martin Currie and Franklin Templeton did not respond to AsianInvestor’s enquiries about when Kouryialas left the firm or who took over his role.

Prior to his time at Martin Currie, Kouryialas was managing director and head of distribution at Legg Mason Asset Management, leading the business strategy for Australia.

He has also worked at Citigroup, JP Morgan Asset Management, State Street Australia and Barclays Bank.


WRISE Group, a multi-family office based in Singapore, has appointed Helen Lam as group chief operating officer, and Gaven Koh as group head of risk and compliance, effective immediately.

Helen Lam

Lam will ensure oversight of the governance and operations of the group, and Koh will manage compliance-related requirements such as risk assessments, frameworks, policies and guidelines.

Both roles are newly created, a spokesperson for WRISE told AsianInvestor.

Lam will be based in Hong Kong, while Koh will based in Singapore, the spokesperson said.

Both report to Derrick Tan, chairman of WRISE group.

Gaven Koh

Lam previously spearheaded strategic business operations at the Bank of Singapore Hong Kong branch, responsible for overall control and governance of the business, including managing audit reviews and front-office compliance matters.

She has also worked at Citi Private Bank Asia Pacific and Deutsche Bank AG Hong Kong.

Koh previously led a team of 30 compliance analysts across Asia Pacific at Credit Suisse.

He was formerly also an investigation officer with the Commercial Affairs department under the Singapore police force.


Gerard Lee, the former CEO of Lion Global Investors, has joined Arabesque Singapore as non-executive chairman.

Gerard Lee

 Arabesque AI offers an AI-driven platform that generates active and customised and impact-driven investment portfolios at scale.

Under Lee's leadership, Lion Global Investors (part of the OCBC Group) introduced AI-managed funds and pioneered Singapore's first AI-powered unit trust.

Lee also previously worked at GIC and Temasek and as well as in advisory roles for various Singapore government ministries. 

Lee stepped down as CEO in December 2022, after 12 years in the role.

Teo Joo Wah, then chief investment officer, was named as Lee’s successor. Lee stayed on as senior adviser to the company until April 16, 2023.

Arabesque AI streamlines the complex process of integrating multiple financial and non-financial dimensions into portfolio construction.

Arabesque AI also helps institutional asset owners to delve deep into sustainable and impact characteristics across the entire portfolio via the diagnostic tool. This is expected to help them in their stewardship and engagement efforts.


Nick King

Robeco has appointed Nick King as head of exchange traded funds (ETFs), effective October.

As part of its 2021-2025 strategy, Robeco is planning to expand its current investment capabilities with an ETF platform. Based in London, King will report to Ivo Frielink, head of strategic product and business development at Robeco, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

King joins from Fidelity International where he left his role as head of ETFs in September, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor, but did not say whether the role has been filled.

King has also worked with BlackRock and UBS Global Asset Management.

David Hallifax

Alternatives and technology solutions firm S64 has appointed David Hallifax as head of Australia and New Zealand.

Based in Melbourne in this new role, Hallifax will lead the expansion of S64 in Australia and New Zealand.

He will report to Tarun Nagpal, CEO, and Thomas Hu, head of Asia Pacific, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

Prior to joining S64, Hallifax was CEO and founder of 1946 Private Capital, a funds placement and capital raising business specialising in private markets, from July 2022, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Hallifax was previously head of Australia funds at JP Morgan Asset Management. He also held roles at Schroders and AMP Capital Investors.

This appointment follow the hire of Hiroaki Ohhigashi as head of Japan in June.


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