Starwood Capital Adds One, Loses One in India

Sundaram Rajago is rejoining Starwood Capital Group as managing director of India and Southeast Asia. He had left the firm in 2005 to join Third Point India, after which he went to Lehman Brothers. He will succeed Balaji Rao, who is leaving the firm to pursue other interests.”


Starwood Capital Group, a leading global private equity firm focused on real estate and energy infrastructure, announced today that Sundaram V. Rajagopal is rejoining the firm as Managing Director, India and Southeast Asia, Starwood Capital India Advisors Private Limited.  In this role, Mr. Rajagopal will lead all acquisition and asset management activities for Starwood Capital in India and Southeast Asia and will manage the team based in Mumbai, India.  Mr. Rajagopal brings more than 17 years of real estate experience to the position, including nearly 10 years executing real estate investments in India.  He previously worked at Starwood Capital Group from 2002 to 2005.

Since opening its office in Mumbai in 2006, Starwood Capital has actively pursued a number of investment opportunities in major developments in various markets, along with strategic investments in operating platforms across India, including investing in a landmark office project in Mumbai‘s Bandra Kurla district currently under construction.

Mr. Rajagopal brings a wealth of experience to his position, particularly in India. He most recently served as the Managing Director and Country Head for Lehman Brothers’ Real Estate Partners’ activities in India, where he developed and executed Lehman’s entry into real estate private equity in India and invested approximately $300 million of equity across ventures and asset classes.  Prior to joining Lehman Brothers in 2006, Mr. Rajagopal served as the Managing Partner for Third Point India, LLC, a partnership dedicated to real estate, and other special situation investments in India.  He joined Third Point India from Starwood Capital Group, where he served as a Vice President focused on transaction execution for a variety of asset classes in the United States and Europe over a period of three years.

“We are thrilled to welcome back Raj, a home grown talent, who has broadened and deepened his knowledge and experience in real estate since he left our Greenwich office to run Lehman’s operations in India,” said Barry Sternlicht, Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group.  “Raj is well-versed in our core risk-reward discipline, our focus on creating value, aligning interests and on building meaningful and important relationships within our firm, with our investors and with our partners.”

Mr. Rajagopal holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.S. in Structural Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.B.A. with distinction from Harvard Business School.

Starwood Capital Group also announced today that Balaji Rao, Managing Director of Starwood Capital India Advisors Private Limited, is leaving the Company to pursue other interests.  Mr. Rao has agreed to continue working with Starwood Capital during the interim period to transition his responsibilities to Mr. Rajagopal.

“Balaji has been an integral part of our growing operations in India and we are very grateful for his many contributions during his time with us,” Mr. Sternlicht said.  “We wish to thank Balaji for his important work in building Starwood’s presence in India and wish him well in all his future endeavors.  We will continue to build upon the groundwork he has helped establish by seeking new opportunities under Raj’s leadership and growing our business interests within the country.”

About Starwood Capital Group Global, LLC

Starwood Capital is a private, U.S.-based investment firm with a core focus on global real estate.  Since the group’s inception in 1991, the firm, through its various funds, has invested more than $6 billion of equity capital, representing $21 billion in assets. Starwood currently has approximately $14 billion of assets under management. Starwood maintains offices in Greenwich, Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., London, Mumbai and Tokyo.  Starwood has invested in nearly every class of real estate on a global basis, including office, retail, residential, senior housing, golf, hotels, resorts and industrial assets.  Starwood and its affiliates have successfully executed an investment strategy that includes building enterprises around core real estate portfolios in both the private and public markets.