CBRE Global Investors, one of the world’s largest real estate investment managers, has adopted a new global operating model, with significant personnel changes in Europe.
As part of the restructuring, the US-headquartered firm with $112.9 bn (€100 bn) of AUM as at end-2019, has confirmed that EMEA CEO and CIO Sophie van Oosterom has decided to leave in order to pursue a fresh career opportunity.
From 16 July 2020, the business will be organised by coordinated areas of global expertise, including investments (led by Jeremy Plummer, who continues in his role as Global Chief Investment Officer of Real Assets, based in London), operations & execution (led by CBRE GI CEO Chuck Leitner who joined the company in November 2019), research (led by Sabina Kalyan, Global Chief Economist & Global Head of Real Assets Research) and investor solutions (led by Bernie McNamara, Global Head of Investor Solutions).
CBRE GI said the new model being rolled out would ‘further enhance the ability to deliver coordinated real assets solutions and drive exceptional investment performance’.
As part of the evolution, several senior-level promotions have been announced, including many in Europe. Van Oosterom will be succeeded by Rik Eertink and Paul Gibson.
Eertink, Head of Retail Netherlands and Fund Manager of the Dutch Retail Fund and the European Shopping Center Fund series, who is based in Amsterdam, will assume responsibility for all operator functions in the new role of President of Real Estate for EMEA. Eertink has been with the firm for 16 years in a variety of acquisitions, asset management, fund management, and related managerial roles, with experience investing across the entire region.
Gibson, Head of Investment Strategy EMEA, who is based in London, will become Chief Investment Officer, EMEA Direct Real Estate Strategies. Gibson has been with CBRE Global Investors for 17 years in a variety of investment strategy and portfolio management roles and is a long-standing member of the EMEA Investment Committee, with knowledge of all strategies across the European platform.
In addition, Ian Gleeson has been promoted to Chief Investment Officer - Global Real Estate Strategies. Based in London, he will lead the Global Real Estate Investments team. Achal Gandhi, who is also based in London, will become Chief Investment Officer - Global Indirect Real Estate Strategies. Gleeson has been running CBRE Global Investment Partners (GIP) as CEO and CIO. Gandhi has been head of global portfolio management for GIP.
Leitner: Van Oosterom has been ‘exceptional leader’
Van Oosterom is departing the company seven years after joining and just under two years since she was elevated to EMEA CEO.
She was appointed as EMEA boss in August 2018. The former MD and European Head of Asset Management at Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners joined the firm in 2013 as Head of EMEA Special Progammes and was elevated twice to become EMEA CEO boss.
Leitner said, ‘Over the past several months, Sophie has worked closely with our leadership team to define a new operating model that would further position CBRE Global Investors for the future.
‘We are excited about the evolution of our business and that it will enhance our ability to deliver global real assets solutions and performance for our clients across all investment formats, risk profiles, sectors and geographies through our differentiated investor-operator offering. In doing so, we are pleased to reward the contribution of many talented individuals within the organisation.
‘Sophie has been an exceptional leader over the past several years, introducing the initial aspects of the investor-operator model in EMEA and overseeing strong business growth in that region. We wish Sophie the very best in the next stage of her impressive career.’
At the time of Leitner’s appointment last year, the former RREEF Asset Management boss said he was joining a company with a lot of experience and diversity, and that as Global CEO he would continue to look for synergies. He took over from Ritson Ferguson.
Full leadership team revealed
The new-look leadership structure is as follows from 16 July:
The Global Real Assets Investments team will be led by Plummer. This group is responsible for investment strategy, portfolio management, analytics and performance measurement and includes Global Real Estate Investments, Private Infrastructure & Listed Real Assets Investments, and Global Real Estate Operations & Execution.
The Global Real Estate Investments team will be led by Gleeson. The rest of the team includes:
Paul Gibson as Chief Investment Officer - EMEA Direct Real Estate Strategies
Kim Hourihan, Chief Investment Officer - Americas Direct Real Estate Strategies and Portfolio Manager for a US fund
Adrian Baker, Chief Investment Officer - APAC Direct Real Estate Strategies
Achal Gandhi, Chief Investment Officer - Global Indirect Real Estate Strategies
The Private Infrastructure & Listed Real Assets Investments team led by Plummer includes:
Joe Smith as Co-Chief Investment Officer - Listed Real Assets Strategies
Ritson Ferguson, Co-Chief Investment Officer- Listed Real Assets Strategies
Stephen Dowd, Chief Investment Officer - Private Infrastructure Strategies and Partner, CBRE Caledon
David Rogers, Executive Chairman of CBRE Caledon, reporting to the CBRE Caledon board of directors
The Global Real Estate Operations & Execution team will be led by Leitner in addition to his CEO responsibilities. This group is responsible for investment execution, including acquisition, disposition, asset management, development, redevelopment and asset finance. It will partner the Global Real Estate Investments team as an integrated investor-operator and includes the following leaders:
Rik Eertink, President—EMEA Real Estate Division
Vance Maddocks, President—Americas Real Estate Division
Adrian Baker, President—APAC Real Estate Division
CBRE GI is owned by property services giant, CBRE Group, which is headquartered in Los Angeles and listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
AUM and capital raising
In its full year results published in February 2020, CBRE Group said its investment management division had reached a record high of $112.9 bn AUM at year-end, an increase of $7.4 bn.
Its capital raising activities reached new highs in 2019 - $13 bn, the highest-ever 12-month total for the company.