KKR hires China head from Blackstone – Exclusive

Former Blackstone managing director Rob Yang has left the firm to lead KKR’s real estate operations in the Greater China region.

Private equity powerhouse KKR has appointed Rob Yang as managing director and head of Greater China for real estate, PERE can reveal.

The newly-created position will see Yang responsible for sourcing investments and expanding KKR’s real estate platform in China

Until Yang's hire this function was led by Bryan Southergill, managing director and head of real estate, Asia along with David Liu, member, head of KKR China, and co-head of KKR’s private equity business in Asia Pacific.

Yang will be working closely with Southergill to advance the firm’s broader regional real estate investment strategy. Both report to Ralph Rosenberg, global head of KKR Real Estate, and Joseph Bae, managing partner of KKR Asia.

Yang will be based out of the firm's Hong Kong office. He starts his role on June 1, 2016.

Yang has joined from The Blackstone Group, where he was a managing director in the firm’s real estate team. A long-serving executive at the New York-based alternative asset manager, Yang joined the firm in 2007. He was one of the earliest executives in Blackstone’s Asia team when it was first set up. He also helped establish the firm’s China real estate investment platform.

“It is a great opportunity to join such a world-class firm at this exciting time for the real estate market,” Yang told PERE. “KKR has cultivated a reputation as an innovator by providing differentiated and holistic financial solutions to real estate owners and developers. I look forward to working with KKR’s team to source new investment opportunities.”

“China is a very attractive market for real estate given the broader macroeconomic dynamics. The credit environment combined with shifting demographics has created a need for financial solutions and restructurings across commercial, residential and mixed-use properties. By leveraging Rob’s extensive network of developers, property owners and investors in China we are well-positioned to provide these capital solutions to strong local partners,” said Rosenberg on Yang’s appointment.

Thomas Duffell contributed reporting.