Asia RE veteran Grady joins Mount Kellett

Timothy Grady, the real estate veteran responsible for launching and growing Merrill Lynch’s private equity real estate platform in Asia, has joined Mark McGoldrick’s Mount Kellett Capital Management as a managing director.

Mount Kellett Capital Management, the private equity business launched by former Goldman Sachs executive Mark McGoldrick, has recruited one of Asia’s best-known private equity real estate professionals.

Timothy Grady joined last month and will initially be based in Hong Kong. Though his specific duties are yet to be finalised, he is expected to work closely with McGoldrick and co-founder, Jason Maynard, who heads up the firm’s Asia operation.

According to sources familiar with the matter, Grady joins at a time when Mount Kellett’s debut investment fund, Mount Kellett Fund 1 LP, a fund which is understood to have attracted about $3 billion of equity capital, is between 60 percent and 70 percent invested. The appointment also follows a reported downsizing in headcount at the firm, which originally started with about 50 staff. One senior figure to depart was co-founder and head of China, Zhu Jianyi, although this was believed to have been for personal reasons.

In Grady, Mount Kellett has hired an experienced deal and fundraising professional with approximately 12 years experience in Asia. Previous employers include Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers and most recently Merrill Lynch where he led its Asia private equity real estate platform.

Grady left Merrill Lynch in early 2009 just months after overseeing the raise of its $2.65 billion Merrill Lynch Asia Real Estate Opportunities Fund and was replaced by acquisitions head Martin Seol. The Wall Street Bank subsequently sought to offload the platform, which including the assets of the fund, has more than $8 billion of real estate under management.

The process got quite far with ING Real Estate Investment Management and LaSalle Investment Management shortlisted as the final two bidders, however a sale failed to materialise. The takeover of the investment bank by Bank of America saw the process stall and eventually pulled. However this summer a deal with private equity and real estate giant Blackstone saw the bank agree to hand over the management of its assets and staff while retaining the general partner function of the fund.