Corestate boss leaves

The termination of Michael Bütter as CEO at one of Germany’s biggest real estate investment managers was down to ‘personal misconduct' the firm said.  

The departure of Michael Bütter as chief executive officer of Zug-based real estate investment manager Corestate Capital was down to ‘personal misconduct,’ the firm told PERE in a statement.

Bütter’s departure was first announced by the firm on December 29.

Andre Zahlten, head of marketing and corporate communications at the firm said: “The termination of the appointment and employment of Dr Michael Bütter as CEO of Corestate is not related to the operational development or strategic focus and orientation of the company.”

He added: “The reason behind it was a personal misconduct of Dr Bütter, which was qualified as unacceptable by the supervisory board. The company is not going to comment any further details.” Bütter was unavailable for comment.

The departure has come as a surprise given Bütter was only appointed last May. Succeeding predecessor Sascha Wilhelm, he joined from another property company, Immobilien Scout, where he was managing director. He also served on numerous boards and undertook advisory positions, including at Corestate since 2016.

Even in his short time at Corestate, Bütter was an outspoken executive for the firm. In October, he represented Corestate at PERE’s Germany roundtable, at which he extolled the property investing opportunity in the country, which is the firm‘s key market. He suggested Germany would still look comparatively enticing to investors, even in the event of an unexpected shock and a correction in international markets.

Bütter: participated in PERE’s Germany roundtable, the coverage of which was published in October

“This is a safe harbor market with a stable economy and occupier base, and good assets. It is still one of the best markets for real estate and given the impact of Brexit on the UK, it will remain a very attractive location within Europe,” he told the roundtable. “That gives me confidence that we will see a period of very strong yields here.” To read coverage of the roundtable, click here. 

Nevertheless, Bütter’s short-lived reign has coincided with a period of diminishing value for the shares in Corestate, which have decreased by 47.9 percent on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange over the last 12 months. They fell 5.3 percent to €28.6 yesterday, on the first full day of trading following the announcement of Bütter’s departure. The shares of Patrizia Imobillien, widely regarded as a close rival because of its size, recent expansion by acquisition and its pan-European reach, have meanwhile decreased approximately 16 percent in the same year-long timeframe, trading at €16.69 yesterday.

One source familiar with the matter said Bütter’s departure has not been good for the share price, but the firm never failed to meet a forecast. “Hopefully, they’ll find the right management now,” he said, adding that the swift dismissal of Bütter was a “result of governance working really well.”

Corestate is expected to begin a process to find a replacement chief executive officer. In the interim, the role’s responsibilities have been assumed by board members Lars Schnidrig, who has taken on the function of chairman of the management board, and Thomas Landschreiber, one of Corestate’s co-founders and its chief investment officer.