KKR to replace Asia impact head with internal candidate

Chee-Wei Wong, who has overseen the firm's first seven Asian impact investments, is returning to New York from Singapore.

The Asia head for KKR’s impact platform is leaving the firm, according to a post on LinkedIn, and he will be replaced by an internal candidate.

Chee-Wei Wong was appointed in January 2020 to lead the firm’s impact funds as the representative in Asia, based in Singapore. Prior to KKR, Wong was a managing director at US private equity firm Tailwind Capital in New York. He had also spent more than eight years with Nordic PE firm EQT’s New York team during 2010-19. He will be moving back to New York in the coming months, he said in his post, without specifying what his next role would be.

George Aitken, KKR
George Aitken, KKR

George Aitken will replace Wong as the head of global impact for Asia, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Aitken has been in KKR’s private equity investing team for more than eight years and has been significantly involved in its global impact strategy. As per Aitken’s LinkedIn, he had been in the industry since 2006, spending about four years at a multifamily office prior to joining KKR in 2014. KKR declined to comment on Aitken’s appointment.

KKR is one of the largest managers of private equity impact capital in the world, according to our latest Impact 50 list, which gives the firm a five-year fundraising total of $3.25 billion. The firm’s first impact fund was launched in 2018 and closed with $1.3 billion in 2020. Its successor, Fund II, is 73 percent larger than the first, having raised $2.25 billion. The strategies back lower-mid-market businesses that drive sustainability in the areas of climate action, decent work and economic growth, quality education, and sustainable cities and communities.

As per KKR’s website, the impact funds had invested in 17 companies so far, seven of which are Asia-based, including India-based small business lender Five-Star and Vietnam-based education group EQuest.

“When I took on the role to lead and build out the Asia business for Global Impact a few years ago, little did we know that we would all be faced with a pandemic,” wrote Wong in his LinkedIn post, “Fast forward to today, we are now a leading franchise in impact investing in Asia, and have a portfolio of seven companies tackling some of the world’s most critical challenges such as climate change, affordable education, financial inclusion and sustainable production.”

Most recently, KKR’s impact funds acquired a liquid cooling technology company for data centres, CoolIT, New Private Markets reported at the time. The business is headquartered in Calgary, Canada with operations across North America, China and Taiwan.