Cushman & Wakefield’s Sanjay Dutt may join Piramal Group

Sanjay Dutt, who recently resigned as the managing director of Cushman and Wakefiled (C&W) India, is likely to join the real estate investment arm of Piramal Group, two people familiar with the development told VCCircle.

The development comes soon after VCCircle first reported that Dutt had put in his papers at the commercial real estate services firm. C&W confirmed his departure on Tuesday and said it had hired Anshul Jain, who was the head of DTZ India before it merged with C&W, to head the company’s India operations.

“He (Dutt) is likely to join Piramal Fund Management to augment its fundraising and investment activities on the real estate side,” said one of the persons cited above.

The second person said Dutt is also exploring opportunities with Singapore-based developer Ascendas and real estate services company Colliers.

When contacted, Khushru Jijina, managing director at Piramal Fund Management, said that the Mumbai-based company is not hiring Dutt.

Dutt said over the phone that he is based in Mumbai and has no plans to relocate. “So, it is not difficult to guess where I am going next,” he said.

Dutt, whose career spans over 22 years, worked with C&W for 11 years in two stints. He has also worked with Jones Lang LaSalle India. His exit from C&W comes after the company merged with DTZ Global in late 2015 to form one of the largest commercial real estate services in the world. The then CEO of DTZ in India, Anshul Jain, had then resigned to join Space Matrix Design Consultants as its India and Middle East CEO. Jain is now returning to C&W.

VCCircle could not immediately gather details about Dutt's new role at Piramal Fund Management, which is currently led by Jijina.

The investment platform invests in the real estate sector mostly through third-party PE funds and debt. Positioned as a perpetual provider of capital, it invests across the spectrum, starting from early-stage equity to late-stage debt and construction finance. It recently added commercial projects and plotted developments to its investment mandate and is also close to sealing a platform deal with a large global investor. 

A number of professionals involved in the real estate sector have switched jobs lately. Nitin Goel, who managed real estate investments at homegrown private equity firm Milestone Capital, quit in April to join the non-banking finance arm of Edelweiss. Sanjay Grewal replaced Karthik Athreya at realty-focused NBFC Altico Capital as CEO late last year. In late 2014, Amber Maheshwari joined the Indiabulls group to head its real estate private equity arm from consultancy firm JLL India. 

These movements come at a time when investments, especially from global investors, in India’s real estate sector have been on the rise. The sector attracted $2.8 billion—a seven-year high—in investments in 2015 as several global pension and sovereign funds increased their focus on India, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle. The sector has also attracted a new set of investors from countries such as China and Japan.

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