Alvarez & Marsal pick up UK veteran Priest

The New York-based workout firm has made a fourth senior hire for its European real estate division in less than a year with the appointment of former Deloitte and Mapeley man Robin Priest.

Alvarez & Marsal, the workout and restructuring firm, has appointed real estate industry veteran Robin Priest for a senior role in Europe. Priest, who has had close ties with the private equity real estate world during his 30-year career, joined the New York-based firm as a senior advisor based at its London office. He becomes the fourth new senior joiner in the firm’s European real estate division over the past year.

The firm said in its announcement on the hire: “The continuing challenging conditions in the European real estate markets, coupled with the impending wall of real estate debt maturities, mean there is an even greater need for advisers with the experience and operational skills to assist creditors and debtors to navigate these difficulties.”

Priest already has experience working in the professional services arena having previously worked for Deloitte, which he joined four years ago to be its head of real estate finance and corporate advisory. He also ran an advisory company called Beachwood for a period of time.

He was also previously founder and chief executive officer of Mapeley, a property outsourcing firm in the UK backed by private equity real estate firms Soros Real Estate Partners and Fortress Investment Group. He left the company in 2004.

Among his major endeavours, he was instrumental in the formation of Property Alliance Group, development and investment firm that has partnered with another private equity real estate firm, Moorfield Group for investments in the North West of England. He remains the chairman of that company and asset management company, Alliance Property Asset Management.

At Alvarez & Marsal, Priest will be focused on the firm’s European clients “deploying his vast experience to challenging and complex assets, portfolios or businesses”, the firm said in its announcement. He joins other sector veterans Ian Morgan, Patrick Anderson and Casper Vredenbregt, each of whom joined the firm during 2011.

Priest said of his appointment: “I decided to join A&M as the firm has an in-depth knowledge of the real estate and financial services sectors married to a results orientated approach. I look forward to helping our clients work through the current challenging market conditions and also to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the comprehensive restructuring of the European real estate sector, which is now firmly in play.”

Michael Camp, global leader of Alvarez & Marsal’s real estate advisory services group, said of the market generally: “Although bricks and mortar are tangible assets, commercial property is a complex business.  Banks are looking to A&M for the high-level expertise and industry knowledge needed to help them through the refinancing bubble coming in 2013 and the maturing of commercial mortgage-backed securities in 2015.”