VIA Outlets elevates COO to CEO

VIA Outlets, a European owner and developer of 11 factory outlet centres which is co-owned by four parties, has announce the elevation of Otto Ambagtsheer from COO to CEO.

Ambagtsheer first joined the company in September 2018 from Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield where he served as managing director for Benelux. Though the company revealed his elevation on Wednesday he officially became CEO in April according to his LinkedIn page.

VIA Outlets announced the new title for Ambagtsheer at the same time as revealing H1 figures. He succeeds Jeremy Cohen and Duncan Agar as the former co-CEO’s of VIA Outlets, who both have resumed their roles within Value Retail.

VIA Outlets is a joint venture between embattled UK REIT Hammerson, which is in the middle of a large disposal programme, Dutch investor APG, Value Retail and Meyer Bergman. It was created in 2014 to acquire and manage existing outlet centres across Europe. In 2018, its total portfolio brand sales amounted to €1.07 bn and saw over 30 million guests visit its centres.

Hammerson said VIA Outlets had grown its portfolio to 11 centres in the first three years and was Europe’s fastest growing owner-operator of premium outlet shopping destinations that had increased its portfolio to 11 centres in its first 3 years.

It added Ambagtsheer previously held the role of chief operating officer and joined the company in September 2018. ‘With the purpose of transforming its centres into premium fashion outlets, VIA Outlets is committed to its ‘3 R’s’ strategy of Remodelling, Remerchandising and Remarketing its assets. This strategy delivered a strong performance in 2018, and the growth has continued in the first half of 2019 with VIA Outlets reporting a 10 per cent increase in brand sales and an 8 per cent increase in footfall.’

Hammerson’s own business has endured a tough time on the London Stock Exchange with its shares having declined steeply from £5.47 last June to £2.89. It aborted a merger with Intu. For the full year 2018 it made £570 mln (€635 mln) of disposals and this year has set itself a disposal target in excess of £500 mln.

It is committed to exiting retail parks over the medium term and is in ‘active portfolio-wide discussions on transactions of over £900 mln,’ according to Hammerson CEO David Atkins in a statement on 25 February accompanying results.
In just May, Hammerson CFO Timon Drakesmith resigned.


Latest news

Best read stories