US-based private equity major TA Associates is stepping up its play in India with a senior level appointment. Dhiraj Poddar, a director at Standard Chartered Private Equity, is quitting to join TA Associates’ India team. Sources say that Poddar will be joining the PE giant’s Mumbai office as a director and may join by middle of next month.
TA Associates, which opened its India office last year, currently has one director and two associates located in Mumbai. The India office is currently headed by Naveen Wadhera, a director, who has been with the PE firm for nearly a decade.
Earlier this year, the PE firm invested $45 million in domestic handset maker Micromax Informatics Ltd. It has also invested in companies like Idea Cellular Ltd and GlobeOp Financial Services, a specialist BPO company. TA Associates last year closed its new $4-billion fund, TA XI, L.P. TA has raised more than $15 billion since 1995 and has offices in Boston, Menlo Park and London.
Poddar was not reachable for comments. An email sent to TA Associates did not elicit a response at the time of publication of this article.
Poddar was with the private equity arm of Standard Chartered since 2005. He has worked on investments across the BPO, financial services, auto components and the travel space. Prior to joining SCPE, he worked with Progeon, the ITES arm of Infosys, as part of the team that set up the KPO division. The IIM-Ahmedabad graduate has also served a stint with ICICI Securities.
Several Indian private equity professionals have in the last one year decided to start their own fund. Over a dozen fund managers may be on the road now for their own funds, increasing the market competition. As overseas private equity firms start opening India shops, there has been an increase in lateral-level people movement.
Amitabh Chakraborty, former president of equity at Religare Securities, joined as MD & chief investment officer of Kitara Capital. Rajiv Shukla, a director of investments at ICICI Venture, recently left to join Morgan Stanley’s hedge fund Frontpoint. Last year, ICICI Venture’s Shweta Jalan left to joint Advent International as India head. Some other recent top level moves include Mahesh Chhabria, a partner British PE major 3i Group Plc in India, who joined Actis.
With infrastructure asset class in demand, several firms have also roped in deal makers in this space to launch new funds. ICICI Venture hired Manikkan Sangameswaran, former chief of Babcock & Brown Infrastructure’s India unit, to head its infrastructure business. Enam hired Ernst & Young’s national director for infrastructure Jayesh Desai to launch a fund.
Private equity real estate has also seen some moves recently as deals start to pick up. Avnish Singh, former India head of GE Capital Real Estate, joined Tishman Speyer as head of acquisitions for the country. US-based Starwood Capital appointed Sundaram Rajagopal, former country head for Lehman Brothers’ Real Estate Partners, as managing director.