KKR Appoints Lim Hwee Hua as Senior Advisor

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has appointed former Singapore government minister Lim Hwee Hua as a senior adviser, the firm announced Monday. Lim will be the first senior adviser KKR has hired for Southeast Asia.

(Reuters) – Private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co said on Monday it has appointed former Singapore government minister Lim Hwee Hua as a senior adviser, as the firm looks to build its profile in the hot investment markets of Southeast Asia.

Lim will be the first senior adviser KKR has hired for Southeast Asia, and comes as global funds scour the region for deals as they look for speedy growth and uncrowded markets.

Senior advisers such as Lim, who became Singapore’s first female minister in 2009, work with investment teams to manage and establish relationships.

“As KKR expands and builds its presence throughout Asia, we will rely on Mrs. Lim for her insights and sound advice not only for the benefit of KKR, but also for our portfolio companies in the region,” said Joe Bae, head of the KKR’s Asian operations.

“She will bring her expertise to bear on our current and prospective investments as a Senior Adviser to the firm,” he added.

Carlyle Group, Blackstone and KKR are increasingly competing for deals in growth markets like Indonesia with the likes of CVC and TPG .

In a sign of its increased focus on Southeast Asia, KKR, which has around 80 professionals in Asia, also recently hired former CEO of Bank Internasional Indonesia Ridha DM Wirakusumah as a director, according to a source familiar with the matter. The source declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Lim became Singapore’s first female minister in 2009, when she held concurrent positions as Minister in the Prime Minister’s office and as Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for Transport.

She was a member of the People’s Action Party team that lost a seat in multi-constituency elections in May, and media speculation had linked her to a return to Singapore’s state investor Temasek Holdings , where she previously worked.

KKR has senior advisers based in Australia, India, Taiwan and Japan, but Lim will be the first in Southeast Asia for the firm, one of the world’s largest with more than $61 billion in assets under management.