Carlyle beefs up Japan team

The Carlyle Group has beefed up its Japanese buyout team with the appointment of a co-head and a chairman commencing October and November respectively.

The Carlyle Group has made two senior appointments in Japan, a stronghold for the US buyout firm which has invested two buyout country-focused funds. Carlyle has appointed Masao Hirano as co-head of its Japan buyout team to work with Tamotsu Adachi, Carlyle’s head of Japan buyout, and Takeshi Isayama as chairman of Carlyle Japan.

Isayama, who will start at the beginning of October, spent most of his career with the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), or what was known as the ministry of International Trade and Industry when he joined in 1967. He was instrumental in resolving economic and trade issues between Japan and the US when he was serving in the ministry, according to a statement. Since he retired from government service, he served as vice chairman on Nissan Motor.

Carlyle’s move to appoint senior executives in Tokyo comes at a time when foreign fund managers are wrestling to identify local talents and senior Japanese professionals. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts earlier this year appointed Shusaku Minoda, a senior executive who was previously with Mizuho Corporate Bank, as managing director and co-chief executive officer for its Japan operations.

Isayama’s appointment is aimed at strengthening and expanding Carlyle’s relations with the top management of Japanese companies while Hirano and Adachi will manage the day-to-day overseeing and managing of the firm’s buyout investments in Japan.

Hirano, who joins Carlyle officially a  month after his chairman, is leaving McKinsey & Company, where he is a director. He has also served as president of McKinsey Japan for more than 8 years leading more than 200 consultants.

Adachi said: “We expect the Japan buyout market will continue its growth trajectory….To capitalize on these growing opportunities, I have invited Hirana and Isayama to join the firm. They will provide strong access to management of potential portfolio companies as well as unique value to our portfolio companies.”

Last year, Carlyle closed its second Japan buyout fund on ¥215.6 billion, or four times larger than the previous fund. Carlyle Japan funds have produced strong returns for investors who also perceived the latter to be uniquely positioned as a local foreign private equity firm in the country, according to investors.