Former ING exec to expand Darby’s infrastructure and Asia operations

Darby Overseas Investments, the private equity arm of Franklin Templeton, has appointed David Hudson to lead its Asia activities, as well as help expand the firm’s global infrastructure funds.

Washington-based Darby Overseas Investments has hired former ING executive David Hudson to help expand the firm’s presence in Asia – and its global infrastructure activities.

Hudson will be based in Hong Kong but report directly to Darby chief executive officer Richard Frank. Hudson will be responsible for developing Darby’s Asian private equity and mezzanine funds, overseeing the firm’s teams in Hong Kong, Seoul and Mumbai.

He will also help expand the firm’s infrastructure operations, following the 2006 launch of Darby’s first dedicated infrastructure fund, the $610 million (€390 million) Korea Emerging Infrastructure Fund. The fund has since invested in the toll road operator Seoul Beltway Corporation and four waste treatment companies. Hudson’s appointment as senior managing director is effective May 1.

Frank said in a statement the appointment would provide Darby with a “unique opportunity” to develop the firm’s platform in “two critical and fast growing areas [Asia and infrastructure].”

Hudson was previously chief executive officer of ING Group’s Americas wholesale banking division, and former chairman and chief executive officer of ING Bank and ING Securities, Asia Pacific. Prior to joining ING in 1996, Hudson led JPMorgan’s Asia Pacific operations.

Darby is the private equity arm of fund of funds manager Franklin Templeton Investments and has closed 10 funds, primarily mezzanine funds in the Latin America region, since its inception in 1994. However the firm is expanding its Asian operations and earlier this month announced its third investment in India in 12 months, investing $25 million in Bangalore-based Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company – popularly known as Coffee Day. Coffee Day owns and operates the largest number of coffee shops in India. Darby said it planned to help the company expand across India and into parts of Europe.