Exodus at Harvest Capital as fundraising head and others quit

Just days after the Hong Kong firm announced the departure of founder and chief executive officer Rong Ren, its head of capital raising and business development, George Agethen, has handed in his notice. He is one of approximately 10 others to leave.

Harvest Capital Partners, the Hong Kong-based private equity real estate firm that this week lost its founder and chief executive officer following a decision to expand into other sectors, has suffered further departures.

PERE understands that, following the announcement of Rong Ren’s resignation on Monday, approximately 10 more staff will be leaving the firm. Among them is George Agethen, its head of capital raising and business development.

In an email sent today to colleagues and clients, seen by PERE, Agethen said: “Today shall be my last day at Harvest Capital. It has been a great experience, and I will now take a short break before continuing my career in the China PERE space…. I look forward to reconnecting in the near future.” Agethen was unavailable for further comment.

Agethen joined Harvest in October 2009 from Macquarie Capital Advisors, part of Australian bank Macquarie. He previously worked for Australian fund manager Stockland.

The departures deplete the personnel resources at Harvest Capital, which at one time had a team of about 40 staff across its various departments.

The exodus is understood to have come about as Harvest Capital expands its investment strategy to include private equity and infrastructure investments alongside real estate. Ren founded the company with backing from state-owned conglomerate China Resources Group and, under his tenure, the platform grew into a business with almost $2 billion in equity under management and $3.5 billion of assets.

However, it is believed that a difference in opinion about the strategic direction of the company between Ren and China Resources contributed to Ren’s decision to resign. As a result, Ren is thought to have sold his stake in the firm to China Resources so that now China Resources owns it in its entirety.

Harvest Capital is seeking a new chief executive officer. In the meantime, the firm is being led by Jiang Wei, chairman of China Resources Capital, part of China Resources and vice chairman of Harvest Capital Partners.