Corsair Capital hires former Standard Chartered chief

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 August, 2010, 12:00am

Former Standard Chartered chairman Mervyn Davies has become a partner at Corsair Capital, an American private equity fund that specialises in buying stakes in banks.

Davies (pictured), who led the emerging markets-focused bank between 2001 and 2009, will be based in Corsair's London office, with the title of vice-chairman. He was previously a member of Corsair's advisory board. He resigned as Standard Chartered chairman in January last year, when he became a life peer, was elevated to the House of Lords and appointed Britain's trade and investment minister.

A letter Corsair sent to investors announcing Davies' appointment did not make clear whether the former Standard Chartered chief was made a partner at the fund to help it find investment opportunities in Europe or Asia. 'His deep industry expertise and relationship network, particularly in Europe and Asia, will significantly complement our investment and investor client franchise globally,' the letter said.

Davies relinquished his ministerial position when Britain's Labour Party lost the general election to a Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in May. Last week, he was asked by the coalition government to head a study on increasing gender equality in British boardrooms. A few days after Britain's new government took power, Davies was also reportedly offered the chairmanship of Lloyds HBOS, a bailed-out high-street lender majority-owned by British taxpayers.

While at Standard Chartered, Davies oversaw key Asian deals, including the purchase of SC First Bank, formerly Korea First Bank, in 2005 and the acquisition of Taiwan-based Hsinchu International Bank for US$1.2 billion in 2006. He also kick-started Standard Chartered's plan to list its shares in India and on the mainland. The bank became the first international company to sell shares on the Mumbai exchange earlier this year. It is still waiting for mainland regulators to approve its potential Shanghai listing.

Corsair, which mainly owns stakes in US and European banks, is not well known in Asia, although it does hold an interest in Korea's Kyobo Life Insurance.

Davies joined Standard Chartered in December 1997 as an executive of its Hong Kong operations before being promoted to group chief executive in 2001 and chairman in 2006.