Berkshire Residential hires BlackRock executive 

The firm is hoping to expand its equity business after a strong 2021 in which it closed more than $4.5bn across three strategies. 

Berkshire Residential Investments has hired John Lamb, the former head of US real estate investment management at BlackRock, as managing director and head of portfolio management.    

Lamb, who will be leaving BlackRock next month after a nearly 20-year tenure, will start his new role in early December. His mandate will include overseeing the execution, management and investment performance of the firm’s equity strategies, with a focus on the US residential housing sector, said Jon Frey, chief operating officer.  

The hire comes as Boston-based Berkshire has been expanding its investment platform, raising more than $4.5 billion for a trio of debt and equity strategies in 2021. This activity included closing two debt funds and hitting its hard-cap of $550 million for an equity strategy, Berkshire Value Fund V.    

Lamb will help foster growth on the equity side of the business, working closely with portfolio managers, investment teams and asset managers on performance and expanding the platform. During his tenure at BlackRock, Lamb completed more than $10 billion of real estate acquisitions and was second in command to Ben Young, the firm’s head of US real estate equity.    

Berkshire’s attributes included the firm’s strong existing team, its position as a growing, vertically integrated operator and its ability to work across debt and equity offerings, Lamb said in a statement.     

Additionally, Berkshire can invest across the commercial real estate capital stack via common or preferred equity or mezzanine debt. “We can fill holes in capital stacks and execute on opportunities that make sense,” Frey said. “There will be opportunities to invest like that, especially with groups which have taken on leverage and will need partners to help recapitalize positions or fix broken capital stacks. We have the dry powder and the mandate.”  

Berkshire began to search for its new head of portfolio management when Frey was promoted to his current role as chief operating officer. The manager engaged an executive search firm that connected it with Lamb. “We got to know John better along the way, but clearly many of us already knew or knew of him,” Frey said. “We were looking for someone who had that deep, successful investment experience.”   

Finally, Berkshire also brought on Lamb with an eye toward enhancing the work it already does to grow its staff. “John brings a proven ability to build, mentor and develop teams and people as well as his institutional relationships,” Frey added.  

This article first appeared in affiliate title Real Estate Capital USA