Two Goldman Executives Depart Asia Merchant Bank Division

Two senior executives atGoldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Asia merchant banking division have retired, a year after the firm combined its multiple private investing units into one team.

Jonathan Vanica, who headed credit in Asia and real estate investing in India, Southeast and Korea, left this month after 19 years at the bank. David Chou, a 15-year veteran who looked after China investments, retired in June and became an advisory director to the New-York based bank. The pair were partners and heads of the former Asia’s special situations group.

Their exits come just a year after the Wall Street bank consolidated multiple units as part of efforts to raise more client money for private investing and rely less on its own balance sheet, In Asia, the combined division is headed by Stephanie Hui and Takashi Murata.

A Goldman spokesman confirmed the departures. Vanica declined to comment in an email. Chou didn’t immediately reply to a message sent through social media.

The special situations group, or SSG, was known as a money-minting machine, wagering the bank’s own money on everything from equity stakes in private companies to middle-market loans and illiquid debt. As a result of the shakeup, it was rolled into the merchant banking division together with real estate units and the principal strategic investment group that makes fintech wagers.

Combining operations resulted in friction at the leadership level as the integration progressed, people familiar with the matter said at the time. Sumit Rajpal, co-head of merchant banking, alsoleft earlier this year.

Read more: Goldman Combines Private-Investing Units in Fundraising Push

In Asia, one of SSG’s most profitable deals in recent years was South Korean skincare products maker Carver Korea Co. In 2017, Unilever bought out SSG, Bain Capital and founder Lee Sang-rok for 2.27 billion euros ($2.7 billion). The two U.S. companies pocketed $1.6 billion from the deal, a more than six-fold return on invested capital in about a year, Korean Investorsreported.

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