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BlackRock appoints new real estate leader

The New York-based asset manager is evolving its newly enlarged BlackRock Real Estate team with a new global head as Jack Chandler is elevated to chairman.  

BlackRock, the New York-based asset management giant, has appointed a new global head of real estate for the $24 billion platform in the wake of its takeover of MGPA last year. In the new-look structure, current global head Jack Chandler has become chairman of BlackRock Real Estate, while London-based Marcus Sperber takes his place.

Clients and investors were told yesterday in a message from Chandler that, since the merger with MGPA in October, the integration was largely complete, giving BlackRock a “robust” global business with strong leadership. He told investors the footprint included $24 billion in assets, offices in 17 cities in 11 countries covering 75 percent of the investible market and teams to handle equity, listed real estate securities and real estate debt.

“With that in mind, I am going to focus on the strategic development of our platform, while continuing to play an active role in investment activities and client interactions, and take a new role as chairman for BlackRock Real Estate,” Chandler said. “To make this possible, I’ve asked Marcus Sperber to become the global head of BlackRock Real Estate. Based in London, Marcus will provide day-to-day direction and management for the business. He will be charged with driving superior investment performance, along with excellent client service. His responsibilities also will include managing our people so our talent and team develop in line with our aspirations for the business.”

Sperber is stepping up, having served as head of real estate for the EMEA region. He joined the firm in 2002 and, according to Chandler’s message, was “instrumental” in the acquisition and integration of MGPA.

In other changes, current chief investment officer for EMEA Tom Lee, who formerly was at MGPA, will step into the broader role of head of real estate EMEA as well as chief investment officer in the region.

The full line-up of BlackRock Real Estate’s executive committee is Chandler as chairman, Sperber as global head, Simon Treacy as chief investment officer and head of US equity, John Saunders as head of APAC, Tom Lee as head and chief investment officer of EMEA, Neil Jones as global chief operating officer, Mark Howard-Johnson as global head of real estate securities, Bob Karnes as global head of real estate debt and MGPA founder Jim Quille as senior advisor.