Overhaul at Winnington following CEO Wong's departure

A major senior executive reshuffle at Hong Kong-based hedge fund-cum-private equity real estate firm Winnington Capital sees former CEO Wong's duties assumed by founder and chairman Kenneth Hung and ex-Asia Pacific Land, Warburg Pincus and GE Real Estate executive Philip Mintz.

Winnington Capital, the Hong Kong-based hedge fund and private equity real estate fund group, has undergone a major senior executive overhaul following the departure of chief executive officer Eddie Wong last year.

PERE can reveal that Wong’s duties are to be split between Winnington’s founder and chairman Kenneth Hung and newly-appointed chief investment officer Philip Mintz who was most recently at Asia Pacific Land, the Hong Kong-based property company. In addition, well-known investment banker Mehmet Dalman has joined Winnington as vice chairman.

Wong became Winnington Capital’s CEO in 2005 leading the company until his departure in October last year. He was previously chairman for Asia at Hypo-Vereinsbank (HVB), the German bank and has a considerable track-record in real estate financing.

New CIO Mintz had only a brief stint at Asia Pacific Land which hired him in the summer of 2010 to build a real estate funds business in Tokyo. Before that he was head of Warburg Pincus’ China real estate investing platform and prior to that he was chief executive officer at GE Real Estate’s Asia Pacific business.

Dalman meanwhile is also non-executive chairman of Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation, the London Stock Exchange-listed natural resources company. During his lengthy career, he has held numerous high-ranking roles at groups including Toscafund Asset Management, Commerzbank, Deutsche Morgan Grenfell Capital Markets, Credit Lyonnais Securities and Nikko Securities Europe.

In a statement issued to PERE, Winnington said: “These senior hirings reinforce Winnington Capital’s platform and strengthen its position at a time when powerful economic dynamics in China – urbanisation, high savings rate, high GDP growth – continue to create good long term opportunities in the Chinese property market. Winnington believes the retail sector will respond especially well to these changes, and has the team to take advantage of the opportunities.”

Winnington Capital was originally formed as a hedge fund business by ex- stockbroker and derivatives trader Hung in 1999. Its time in private equity real estate has been something of a tale of two funds. Focused on China development, its maiden effort, the Trophy Property Development fund was closed in April 2008 on more than $1 billion of equity commitments.

According to PERE sources, one strong reason why investors were attracted to the fund was its development joint venture with Hong Kong property and construction giant Shui On Group in which Winnington was able to invest in pre-identified Shui On Land properties in cities including Shanghai, Wuhan and Chongqing.

The fund’s sequel, Trophy Property Development II, was introduced to the market with a reduced strategic exposure to Shui On's properties.
According to PERE’s Capital Watch, a $750 million capital raising target was set for the vehicle and by October 2010 a first closing of $100 million was achieved. Following Wong's departure however the fund is understood to have been put on hold although the firm denied it has been wound up.