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Banking & Finance

KKR taps Japan chief Hirano to lead Asian operations

Firm's CEO for Southeast Asia also named co-head of private equity in region

KKR Japan chief Hirofumi Hirano speaks at the Reuters Japan Investment Summit in Tokyo in May 2014.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- U.S. investment firm KKR has named the CEO of its Japanese unit, Hirofumi Hirano, as co-head of private equity operations in Asia as part of efforts to add to the company's portfolio in the region.

The 58-year-old Hirano fills one of the new KKR positions that focus on investment in Asian corporations, while keeping his job as chief of the Japan unit.

Also serving as co-head of private equity in Asia will be Ashish Shastry, head of KKR's Southeast Asian operations.

In an interview with the Financial Times earlier this year, KKR founders George Roberts and Henry Kravis described Japan as the firm's "top priority" outside the U.S. and said they would continue to seek opportunities to buy spinoffs from big conglomerates. 

Hirano joined Nikko Securities -- a predecessor of SMBC Nikko Securities -- in 1983. After years of involvement with the brokerage's fund business, he was appointed head of KKR Japan in 2013.

Hirano has led the acquisition of businesses and subsidiaries from several major Japanese companies including Hitachi, Panasonic, Nissan Motor and Pioneer.

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