Carlyle Group hires former J&J exec to advise Asia buyout fund

Carlyle Group has hired a former senior Johnson & Johnson executive to advise on investing in China’s healthcare sector, as a raft of reform measures attracts more private equity firms to the industry.

Wu will help Carlyle to expand its portfolio companies in the healthcare industry

Jesse Wu, 59, became a senior adviser to Carlyle’s Asian buyout fund last week, helping to scout deals for the US private equity firm and expand its portfolio companies in the healthcare industry. Wu previously ran Johnson & Johnson’s operations in China and had oversight of the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company’s global consumer group.

Consumers are increasingly paying a premium for top-quality healthcare services across Asia. Private equity firms and other investors have tried to capitalise on that by putting money into private hospitals and a crop of emerging biotech firms in China and elsewhere.

“You can no longer just be a generalist private equity investor in Asia,” said X.D. Yang, co-head of the Carlyle Asia buyout team, in an interview. “Health care is one of the sectors where industry expertise is important.”

Carlyle’s Asia buyout fund has made a number of investments in the healthcare industry across Asia, putting more than $ 1.3 billion into seven deals. Those include investments in hospital services, such as Australia’s Healthscope, and medical device makers, such as China’s Haier Bio-Medical and Laboratory Co. The private equity giant has yet to invest in the pharmaceutical industry in Asia.

Yang said the former Johnson & Johnson executive will help Carlyle navigate China’s healthcare policy changes and evaluate prospective investment targets’ management teams, as well as mentor them after Carlyle invests. The buyout fund also has three operating partners that help its portfolio companies in Asia outside Japan.

Write to Rick Carew at

This article was first published by The Wall Street Journal

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