Hyung-Don Choe, global private equity head of the National Pension Service (NPS), was promoted on August 1 to lead the pension fund’s global alternative investment division which he had spearheaded as acting head for over a year.
NPS also promoted Hyeong-Ju Lim, team head of global equity investment outsourcing, as global public market division chief, according to its statement on August 1. He had led the division since last month.
Their internal promotions come amid an unprecedented series of resignation by its senior investment managers, which had left empty four executive positions, including chief investment officer.
Choe, the new global alternatives head, is the longest-serving asset manager in the NPS’ global alternative investment division after joining the pension fund in 2006.
Previously, he had worked for Prudential Life Insurance Korea and ING Life Insurance Korea, after graduating from Yonsei University’s department of economics.
Choe, 44, appears to be cut out for the new job, given his 13-year experience in both domestic and global alternative investments at the world’s third-largest pension fund.
“His promotion means internal talent of the NPS has built experience and expertise enough to move up to executive positions,” said an investment banking source.
“Because of the difficulty in finding talent with experience in big-scale investments, NPS will increasingly promote internal talent (to executive positions).”
As head of global private equity since 2015, Choe had focused on co-investments with global private equity firms.
He led NPS’ financial investment in MBK Partners’s acquisition of Coway Co., South Korea’s largest consumer appliance rental firm, in 2013. He also handled financial investment in Fila Korea’s 2011 acquisition of Acushnet that makes Titleist golf equipment.
Other private equity deals he had spearheaded include NPS’ co-investments in Blackstone Group-led acquisitions of TeamHealth Holdings Inc., a US hospital staffing company, in 2017 and Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk unit early this year.
Lim, the new global public market head, has been working at the NPS Investment Management department since 2003. A graduate of Seoul National University’s business administration, he had been mainly involved in equity market investments for the pension scheme.
Meanwhile, NPS has shortlisted 30 applicants for its CIO job to 13 for interviews which will take place later this month, according to financial industry sources.
It is also looking for professional investors inside and outside the fund to fill the two positions of domestic alternatives and domestic equity heads, NPS said in the statement.
By Chang Jae Yoo
<Edited by Yeonhee Kim>