Providence’s China Head Sun Is Said to Leave in Latest Asia Exit

Jul 09, 2014 11:01 am ET

July 9 (Bloomberg) -- Tao Sun, who led Providence Equity Partners Inc.’s investing team in China, has left the private- equity firm after three years, according to a person familiar with the move.

The departure of Sun, who was a managing director based in Beijing, was a mutual decision between him and the Providence, Rhode Island-based firm, said the person, who requested anonymity because the move wasn’t announced. Ming Jin, a director in Beijing, is assuming Sun’s responsibility for investments in China, the person said.

The departure is at least the 10th of a managing director at the firm since 2012 as Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Nelson reorganizes his team to invest a smaller fund. Providence, which manages more than $40 billion in assets, closed its latest leveraged-buyout pool last year with $5 billion, less than the $6 billion it initially sought and the $12.1 billion fund the firm raised in 2007.

Andrew Cole, a spokesman for Providence at public-relations firm Sard Verbinnen & Co., declined to comment. An e-mail sent to Sun received an automatic reply saying he’s no longer with the firm, and he didn’t immediately respond to a message sent through LinkedIn.

Sun joined Providence from Actis LLP, where he was a partner in Beijing, according to a 2011 statement from Providence announcing his hiring.

Patrick Corso, who led Providence’s Hong Kong office, left last year, people familiar with the move said at the time. Sean Tong, hired in 2008 as a managing director in Hong Kong, joined private-equity firm Boyu Capital in 2011.

Recent Departures

Other recent departures have included Alex Evans, who joined Comcast Corp. in December; Chris Halpin, who left for the National Football League last year; and Julie Fisher and Piers Dennison, who led investor-relations efforts. Some departures in 2012 and 2013 weren’t voluntary, people familiar with the moves said last year, without identifying specific executives.

Private-equity firms have completed 579 deals in Asia in the past year, a 15 percent decline from the previous 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bis Subramanian, a 14- year Providence veteran based in New Delhi, leads the firm’s investment activity in Asia.

Providence, which invests in media, communications and education companies, added two managing directors in November. Josh Empson joined the firm’s New York office from NantCapital, a firm he co-founded, and Karen Gordon, formerly at Boston Consulting Group Inc., joined Providence’s portfolio operations group, according to statements at the time.

This year, the firm hired Ron Kantowitz and Marc Pfeffer as managing directors in its credit unit, and Alexis Egan and Mark Hastings joined as managing directors to make growth-equity investments.