CX Partners’ managing partner Ajay Relan steps down

Home-grown private equity firm CX Partners’ co-founder and managing director Ajay Relan has decided to hang up his boots after 20 years in the industry.

The firm has promoted co-founder Jayanta Basu as managing partner with responsibility for its day-to-day operations. The change has been effective December 10 this year.

“I don’t want to hold up a position for so many years when there is enough talent in the firm,” Relan told VCCircle. “I have to run around for meetings to Mumbai and Hyderabad. I don’t think at 62 I want to do that.”

Relan, however, clarified that he will remain the firm’s executive chairman. He will continue to lead the firm in partner meetings, taking up board positions or ownership of companies while Basu will lead meetings with investors and will be the outside face of the firm.

Relan will also continue to chair the pipeline and investment recommendation committee meetings, lead the initiative for negotiating with the firm’s investment partners from the Middle East, and help the company determine its growth trajectory and the funds' investment strategy. 

Relan said that the firm has yet to chalk out its strategy after he stepped down and that it will discuss the plan with its limited partners later this week.

In a note to investors and employees at CX Partners, Relan had said that the process of giving up the reins to Basu had been in progress for some time. He had said also that he would serve as a mentor to the firm.

Basu is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and St Stephen’s College, Delhi. Prior to joining CX Partners, he had eight years of investing experience at Citigroup Inc’s private equity arm in India. He has served on the boards of Convexity, Minacs, Security and Intelligence Services (India) Ltd, TSI, Sutures India and Matrix Cellular.

Relan’s decision to step down was first reported by DealStreetAsia.

Relan has seen the private equity industry boom in India since 1995. He served as the head of private equity venture in India for Citibank before founding CX Partners in 2009. He sits on the board of HT Media Ltd and Hindustan Media Ventures Ltd.

CX Partners manages a fund of $500 million. Its portfolio includes Barbeque Nation Hospitality Ltd, Sapphire Foods India Pvt Ltd, Ujjivan Financial Services Pvt Ltd, South Indian Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Thyrocare Technologies Ltd and Minacs.

VCCircle reported in January  that the firm was on the road to raise a $400 million second fund.

The firm also has a mezzanine fund led by managing director Shishir Jain. This fund recently provided debt funding to the promoters of logistics service provider Agarwal Packers & Movers. 

In July, the PE firm made its first  full exit when it sold its stake in Monnet Ispat at a loss. The firm also reinvested in restaurant chain Barbeque Nation after its first investment in 2013.

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