Macquarie Group, Australia-based investment banking major, has appointed former Merrill Lynch banker Kalpana Desai as deputy head of Asia. She joins Macquarie Capital Advisers and will take charge of the firm's corporate advisory and equity underwriting businesses.

Desai will be based in Hong Kong and report to Andrew Low, head of Asia for Macquarie Capital, an entity which incorporates Macquarie Capital Advisers and the fund management business Macquarie Capital Funds, according to reports.

In another move, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners has roped in Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons as a senior adviser. Parsons will join Providence on a part-time basis and continue in his Citigroup post, a report said. Parsons will guide Providence--a two-decade-old company specialising in buying media and telecom businesses with holdings including Hulu and Metro Goldwyn Mayer studio--on new investment opportunities as well as on some of its existing investments.

Desai, an investment banking veteran with over 20 years of experience, was most recently a senior MD and head of Asia-Pacific mergers and acquisitions at Merrill Lynch. She left Merrill in May 2009 after an 11-year stint. At Merrill, Desai spearheaded Hong Kong-based telecom major PCCW Ltd’s acquisition of Hong Kong Telecom from Cable & Wireless in 2000, where she advised the sell-side; and United Overseas Bank's takeover of Overseas Union Bank in 2001, where she advised UOB.

She was also involved in a number of China cross-border deals, including the establishment of a cross-ownership and operational partnership between Cathay Pacific Airways and Air China. Prior to Merrill Lynch, she also worked as an investment banker in London.

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