AEW turns to Schaefer to lead Asia efforts

The global real estate investment manager has filled its leadership void with a trio formerly with DTZ Investment Management led by 23-year industry veteran David Schaefer.

AEW Capital Management, the global real estate investment manager, has appointed new leadership for its Asia business following the departure of managing director Peter Wittendorp and members of his team during the summer.

The firm announced today it has hired industry veteran David Schaefer as Wittendorp’s replacement. Like his predecessor, Schaefer also recently span out a team, from DTZ Investment Management, the investment management division of property services group DTZ.

The other members of Schaefer’s team, Jason Lee and Michael Moon, have joined AEW as director and chief investment officer and associate director and country manager for Korea respectively.

Jeffrey Furber, AEW’s chief executive officer, who had assumed interim leadership duties of the firm’s Asia business following Wittendorp’s departure, said: “We are delighted to welcome David, Jason and Michael to AEW Asia. Their strong experience, in-depth knowledge of the Asian property markets and a network of contacts in the region complement and strengthen those of our existing Asian team, and will be highly valuable to our investors.”

One of Schaefer’s first jobs will be to launch a follow-up fund to AEW Asia’s AEW Value Investors Asia fund, which closed on $557 million in 2008 and is just a handful of exits away from wrapping up. The sequel fund is expected to hit the marketplace in early 2013.

Schaefer inherits a team of 15 professionals based in Hong Kong, Singapore and Seoul, markets he knows well and has transacted in, particularly during his time in charge of Citi Property Investors, the former Citigroup real estate investment management platform since sold to private equity house Apollo Global Management. In addition to leading Citi Property Investors, Schaefer’s 23-year career in real estate also includes spells in charge of property in Asia for Australian bank Macquarie and as an advisor to the Schroder Asian Properties Fund.

AEW currently manages approximately $2 billion of assets in Asia, a small component of its more than $45 billion of assets around the world.