Macquarie Group's head of investment banking in Asia, Kalpana Desai, is leaving after three years with the Australian company amid a widening exodus of dealmakers from the industry. Desai, 45, will retire as head of Macquarie Capital Asia effective in April to spend time with her family. A spokeswoman for the Sydney-based bank declined to comment. Senior banking executives including Gaby Abdelnour of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs Group's Yusuf Alireza have left investment banking in the past year as deals dried up and compensation fell. Macquarie, Australia's largest investment bank, said in July that its securities unit would probably post a second straight annual loss as Europe's debt contagion dented appetite for trading and share sales. "With the changes taking place in the investment banking model, senior bankers are now asking the question: What is next for me in these changing times?" said David Webbe, a senior client partner at Korn/Ferry International, a global executive search firm. Macquarie CEO Nicholas Moore in July described the securities market as "very, very tough" and said he didn't expect the European crisis to improve soon. Alex Harvey, who was made CEO of Macquarie's Asian operations in January, will assume Desai's role. That will leave the firm's Asian operations with a similar leadership structure to those in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Macquarie's ranking in underwriting share sales in Asia fell to 23rd this year from 11th in 2010, the first full year after Desai assumed her position. The rankings exclude offerings in China, where Macquarie lacks a joint venture that is required to underwrite stock sales. In mergers advisory, Macquarie has slipped to 54 in Asia from 16 in 2010, according to data that includes China. The global investment banking unit accounted for 8.9 per cent of the group's revenue for the year ended March 31. Macquarie ranked 11th in Asia equity underwriting and 41st in mergers advisory in 2009. Investment-banking fees in the Asia-Pacific region slumped to US$10.6 billion in the nine months through September from US$12.4 billion in the year-earlier period, according to data provided by researcher Freeman & Co. Banks have lost some of their allure as employers after stricter capital rule and a drop in fees restricted their ability to pay. Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are among investment banks that have announced cuts in overall compensation this year.