Mumbai: The boom in real estate as well as related funds has set off a big scramble for experienced managers.
In just the past year, close to a dozen senior executives working with real-estate consultancies, such as Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers International Property Services and Jones Lang LaSalle, have been lured away by real-estate venture funds and foreign developers, led by the Blackstone group, GE Real Estate, Tishman and Speyers.
In January, Chanakya Chakravarti, joint managing director of Cushman & Wakefield in Mumbai, moved to Actis, the $2.7 billion UK private equity fund to manage its real estate foray. Akshaya Kumar, who spent 10 years as a chief executive officer of Colliers International’s India operations, has started his own real-estate advisory firm, Park Lane Advisory, to advise developers and foreign real-estate funds. He is also exploring his own real-estate fund.
The list also includes Dinesh Chandiok, former chief executive offiicer of Ansal Properties. Chandok, who was also responsible for setting up the CB Richard Ellis in India in 1995-96, has moved on to Tata Realty and Infrastructure.
Balaji Rao, managing director of TCG Urban Infrastructure Holdings, has moved to Starwood Capital, the US-based real-estate fund, as its India head and Tuhin Parikh, chief executive officer of TCG Urban Infrastructure, is now heading Blackstone Group’s real-estate fund in India.
It isn’t just at the top levels. For instance, Ashish Singh, regional manager at Cushman, has joined Tishman & Speyers and a few employees of Jones Lang LaSalle have moved to GE Real Estate and Kotak India Real Estate Fund.
“Apart from higher salaries, it’s the opportunity to become a principal manager, rather than just being an intermediary, that is driving this change,” says Mridul Upreti, head-corporate finance at Jones Lang LaSalle. Adds Starwood’s Rao: “When US-based funds come to India, it’s not enough for them just to hire somebody from the development side. They need a person who is well versed with the financials of the business as well. For me, personally it was the charm of being involved from the beginning to end.”
“Offers are coming like the way credit card companies call up for selling cards,” points out Joy Sanyal, vice-president, Trammell Crow Meghraj.