* Blackstone focused on real estate investing across Asia
* Former HK financial secretary Leung to take role at HK firm in Feb
* Leung to stay as Blackstone adviser
By Stephen Aldred and Denny Thomas
HONG KONG, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group’s Antony Leung is leaving his role as Greater China Chairman to lead a Hong Kong-based property conglomerate, the private equity firm said on Tuesday.
Blackstone is the second global buyout firm in a week to announce a senior leadership change in Asia, after TPG Capital brought senior partner Tim Dattels back from the United States to co-lead the region.
The moves come as private equity firms seek to spend their cash piles in Asia, at a time when competition among other competitors such as KKR & Co LP and entrenched Asia buyout groups remains intense.
Leung, Hong Kong’s former financial secretary, will become the group chief executive officer for Hong Kong-based property conglomerate, the Nan Fung Group, starting in February. He will also retain an advisory role at Blackstone.
Leung, who was also the ex-Asia chairman for JPMorgan , was hired by Blackstone in 2007 to help it build out its fledgling Asia business.
The departure follows Andrew Quo, a former senior managing director and vice chairman for Greater China at Blackstone, who recently moved to a senior adviser role at the firm.
Blackstone, the world’s biggest private equity real estate firm with $69 billion in assets under management, is strongly focused on real estate investments in Asia. It invests in Asia from a $13.3 billion global real estate fund, and a debut $4 billion real estate fund for Asia.
Blackstone was one of the last of the big buyout firms to set up shop in Hong Kong, choosing Mumbai as its first Asia office in 2005.
Leung joined Blackstone senior managing director Ben Jenkins as co-head of the firm’s Hong Kong office in 2007.
In December 2010, Blackstone named Michael Chae, a senior managing director in its New York office, as the head of private equity in Asia. Jenkins left Hong Kong to return to the United States with Blackstone the following year.