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Providence’s China Head Said to Leave in Latest Asia Exit

Tao Sun, who led Providence Equity Partners Inc.’s investing team in China, has left the private-equity firm after three years, according to a person familiar with the move.

The departure of Sun, who was a managing director based in Beijing, was a mutual decision between him and the Providence, Rhode Island-based firm, said the person, who requested anonymity because the move wasn’t announced. Ming Jin, a director in Beijing, is assuming Sun’s responsibility for investments in China, the person said.

The departure is at least the 11th of a managing director at the firm since 2012 as Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Nelson reorganizes his team to invest a smaller fund. Providence, which manages more than $40 billion in assets, closed its seventh leveraged-buyout pool last year with $5 billion, less than the $6 billion it initially sought and the $12.1 billion fund the firm raised in 2007.

Andrew Cole, a spokesman for Providence at public-relations firm Sard Verbinnen & Co., declined to comment. An e-mail sent to Sun received an automatic reply saying he’s no longer with the firm, and he didn’t immediately respond to a message sent through LinkedIn.

Sun joined Providence from Actis LLP, where he was a partner in Beijing, according to a 2011 statement from Providence announcing his hiring.

Recent Departures

Patrick Corso, who led Providence’s Hong Kong office, left last year, people familiar with the move said at the time. Sean Tong, hired in 2008 as a managing director in Hong Kong, joined private-equity firm Boyu Capital in 2011.

Private-equity firms have completed 579 deals in Asia in the past year, a 15 percent decline from the previous 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Bis Subramanian, a 14-year Providence veteran based in New Delhi, leads the firm’s investment activity in Asia. Nelson is preparing to open a fourth office on the continent, the person said, as the firm continues to invest from a global fund.

Recent departures outside of Asia have included Alex Evans, who joined Comcast Corp. in December; Chris Halpin, who left for the National Football League last year; and Julie Fisher and Piers Dennison, who led investor-relations efforts. Some departures in 2012 and 2013 weren’t voluntary, people familiar with the moves said last year, without identifying specific executives.

New Hires

Providence, which invests in media, communications and education companies, is best known for deals including the 2007 buyout of Univision Communications Inc. and its investment in the cable-television network of the New York Yankees. Its sixth and fifth funds, raised in 2007 and 2004, were generating net internal rates of return of 4.5 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively, as of Dec. 31, according to California Public Employees’ Retirement System, an investor in both pools.

The firm added two managing directors in November. Josh Empson joined the New York office from NantCapital, a firm he co-founded, and Karen Gordon, formerly at Boston Consulting Group Inc., joined Providence’s portfolio operations group, according to statements at the time.

Since 2012, Providence has also hired Ron Kantowitz and Marc Pfeffer as managing directors in its credit unit, as well as Rich Byrne as a senior managing director. Alexis Egan and Mark Hastings joined the firm in the past year as managing directors to make growth-equity investments.

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