Oxford Properties appoints new Europe head, hires 'digital first' COO

Oxford Properties, the global real estate arm of the OMERS pension fund, has announced a series of changes to its leadership team, including the appointment of Dean Hopkins as chief operations officer (COO) and Jo McNamara as new head of Europe. 

The company said that Hopkins' appointment as COO 'brings invaluable C-Suite tech experience to its leadership team' which would enable the firm to adopt 'a digital-first strategy in its approach to property, facility and asset management'.

Within the changes, McNamara (pictured) becomes managing director, head of Europe and David Matheson takes the role of managing director, head of Asia Pacific and continues to lead investment and development activity in both Europe and Asia Pacific.

Both report into Paul Brundage, senior managing director, head of Europe and Asia Pacific and member of Oxford’s executive leadership team. Oxford entered the Asia Pacific market in late 2018 via its A$4.5 bn (€1 bn) take-private acquisition of office REIT Investa.

As part of the reorganisation, Eric Plesman and Chad Remis now lead Oxford’s North American business and have been appointed to the executive leadership team as executive vice presidents.

'This new structure is all about creating a scalable and agile business as we continue on our journey of global growth,' said Michael Turner, president of Oxford.

'Over the past year, we’ve entered into new markets, increased our diversification across both geographies and asset classes and built a platform that now spans four continents. The new structure allows us to pair the advantages of a worldwide platform with the benefits of local expertise and talent,' Turner added.

Non-property background
The firm said that new COO Hopkins was noteably joining from outside the real estate industry. Hopkins most recently served as the CEO of scale-up innovation hub, OneEleven, after 12 years leading global transformation programmes for Thomson Reuters.

'Be it the Internet of Things, AI or Augmented Analytics, the commercial real estate industry is primed for disruption, yet there is a dearth of C-Suite level tech experience across our industry,' Turner noted. 'Dean’s appointment brings us valuable expertise as we continue to not only harness the power of technology to transform the way our customers interact with real estate, but also to transform our own ways of working as we become increasingly global.'

European shake-up
The new organisational structure also creates new geographic and asset-class leaders in Europe, according to Oxford. McNamara will lead a team that includes Henry Shearer, newly appointed head of UK office and retail; James Boadle, newly appointed head of UK residential and logistics; Abigail Shapiro, newly appointed head of Germany; and Pierre Leocadio, newly appointed head of France.

In Asia Pacific, Alec Harper is the newly appointed head of Australia and will report into David Matheson, who will retain responsibility for Singapore and the rest of Asia.

Oxford said that the reorganisation reflected a decade of change. Over the last 10 years, the balance of its portfolio held outside Canada has risen from just 15% of its assets under management to approximately 55%. Since Oxford was established in Europe in 2007, a C$9.6 bn (€5.4 bn) portfolio has been built, through direct and indirect investments in the UK, France and Germany.

In 2018, Oxford launched its ‘beds and sheds’ strategy to expand its exposure to the multifamily and logistics sectors, since tripling its global industrial assets under management while increasing its residential assets by 150%, according to the firm.


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