CPI’s China head resigns

Wendy Yao has resigned as Apollo Global Management works towards completing the takeover of Citi Property Investors by the end of June

Wendy Yao, the head of China at Citi Property Investors (CPI), is to leave the business at the end of the month ahead of its forthcoming sale to Apollo Global Management.

The former Macquarie Bank executive, who joined CPI in 2006, has tendered her resignation amid expectations that Apollo will not make China a priority for investments.

She led a team of five staff from an office in Shanghai and was best known for her investments in China’s retail sector.

According to one source, other members of staff in the Shanghai office are awaiting details of Apollo’s strategic plan for China as the New York-based firm works towards completing the purchase of CPI’s $8 billion platform by the end of next quarter.

While the firm has not gone public with its investment strategy on the back of the merger, its plans for Asia, – where it will take over  CPI’s $1.29 billion CPI Capital Partners Asia Pacific fund – were detailed when Apollo appointed Asia investment veteran Grant Kelley, in February, to lead its business in the region.

Apollo, whose Asia platform will be based in Hong Kong, is adopting a similar investment strategy to that of Kelley’s previous platform, Holdfast Capital, which was targeting Asia’s mature markets of Japan, Australia and South Korea. The firm said at the time that China, India and Asia’s other emerging markets would figure in its strategy later.

Apollo’s first Asia fund will seek $1 billion in equity commitments and expects to make investments of between $100 million and $500 million.

CPI has been subject to senior departures during its sale process. In late February, chief financial officer for Asia, Marco Ho resigned from his role. Earlier that month, Larry Ellman, head of CPI’s North American Investments, also resigned to join Boston-based Berkshire Group.