In another high level exit in Indian private equity industry, Leo Puri, a managing director at Warburg Pincus India Pvt Ltd, is quitting the firm to pursue other opportunities, VCCircle has learnt from multiple sources. Puri, who had a four-year stint at the private equity firm, which was known for one of the best exits in the Indian PE history, was part of the key team handling India investments.
A spokesperson from Warburg Pincus confirmed the development to VCCircle. “Leo Puri is leaving the firm in the coming months to pursue other professional interests. We appreciate Leo’s service to the firm and wish him well in his future endeavours,” she said.
Puri serves on the board of Max India, Max Healthcare and Laqshya Media as a representative of Warburg Pincus. The other managing directors – Niten Malhan, Vishal Mahadevia and Dalip Pathak – will continue to run India investments.
Warburg Pincus was one of the earliest investors in Bharti Airtel, from which they took out almost six times their original investment of $300 million, and this exit is celebrated as one of the most successful deals in India.
This will be the third high level exit from Warburg Pincus in India since it set up shop in the 1990s which had, otherwise, remained stable on the team front. Rajesh Khanna left last year as co-head of Warburg Pincus to set up his own private equity firm Arka Capital. Pulak Prasad, who was one of the architects of Bharti deal along with Khanna, quit the firm in 2006 to set up his own firm Nalanda Capital.
Puri was one of the senior most MDs in the India unit of Warburg, which has invested in companies like Kotak Mahindra Bank, Moser Baer, Lemon Tree Hotels and Havells India.
Puri joined Warburg Pincus in 2007 and was focused on the firm’s investment activities in India and financial services investments in select global markets. Prior to joining Warburg Pincus, he was a director at McKinsey & Company in India and a co-leader of the financial services practice in Asia.
He holds Master’s degrees in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University and obtained an MA in law with first class honours from Cambridge University.
“India being one of the highest growth areas in Asia has been an important investment destination for Warburg Pincus. Since inception, we have invested over $2.5 billion in India, in more than 40 companies, reflecting the firm’s increasing India commitment. Over the last 12 months, Warburg Pincus has committed over $450 million in new investments, across five companies. The firm’s India office will continue to be overseen by Niten Malhan, Vishal Mahadevia and Dalip Pathak, and the firm remains focused on identifying and pursuing interesting investment opportunities in India,” the spokesperson added.
Warburg Pincus, whose only business is private equity investing, has had a busy 2011. It backed companies like NDR, a leading logistics service provider, Continental Warehousing Corporation (Nhava Seva) Ltd (CWCNSL) and Diligent Power Ltd this year alone.