Brookfield hires first COO of European real estate

Former Goldman executive bolsters the leadership team of the growing regional platform, which has doubled in size since 2016.

Brookfield Asset Management has hired a chief operating officer for its European real estate business, PERE has learned.

The Toronto-based alternative asset manager has tapped Richard Powers for the newly created position. Powers, who joined last month, will report to Brad Hyler, Brookfield’s head of European real estate.

Powers, who recently relocated to London, will work alongside Brookfield’s European real estate leadership team to help continue to expand the firm’s pan-European real estate business and oversee its operations. Aside from Hyler, Brookfield’s senior European real estate executives include managing directors Michael Fuller, Rohit Srivastava, Rose Meller, Ben Annable and Alexis Prevot.

Powers was previously managing partner at New York-based O-Zone Partners, which he formed as part of an investment joint venture with US real estate investment firm Red Stone Equity Partners to invest in affordable housing and opportunity zones in the US. Powers was also a managing member of New York-based Grand Street Investments, which focused on real estate, railcars and distributed power generation.

“This was a role created specifically for Europe following the recent growth of our portfolio and team here,” a spokesperson wrote in an email to PERE.

Brookfield’s European real estate business has more than doubled in size over the past six years – from approximately $22 billion in assets under management in 2016 to $52 billion as of Q2 2022. The regional team has more than 100 professionals spanning investment, portfolio management, finance, tax and other corporate functions.

The expansion of the leadership team also follows the European real estate business’s most active 12-month period to date. Its investment activity over the past year has included the public-to-private takeovers of German office REIT alstria and Irish REIT Hibernia; the launch of ARC, its European science and technology real estate platform; and the agreed sale of its UK student accommodation business Student Roost to GIC and Greystar.

PERE understands that Powers will help to drive further growth in Brookfield’s European real estate business by working with its senior executives to optimize internal functions across the real estate group as well as providing support to the growing number of portfolio companies and management teams that work with the platform.

Powers’ hire will also bolster the operational capabilities of Brookfield’s global real estate platform. Leading the charge is Bill Powell, who is chief operating officer for both the global real estate business as well as its US business. The firm does not have a COO for Asia-Pacific real estate.

Earlier in his career, Powers was a partner at Goldman Sachs’ merchant banking division, where he held roles that included co-head of European real estate and US real estate, according to his LinkedIn profile. He also served as head of international real estate at GE Capital.