Cornerstone appoints Weeks as Europe CEO

The Hartford, Connecticut-based real estate investment management firm has promoted Charles Weeks to be its next chief executive officer for Europe, the firm announced.

Charles Weeks is to become the next chief executive officer of the European business of Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors, the $33 billion real estate investment management business from Hartford, Connecticut.

Weeks assumes the position in the middle of March, replacing current incumbent Iain Reid, who is expected to retire from the company. The two have worked together since 1995 at a number of different companies including Barclays Property Investors, Aberdeen Property Investors and Protego Real Estate Investors.

Protego was acquired by Cornerstone in January 2010 in a deal which resulted in a 58 percent IRR and an equity multiple of 6.2x for London-based private equity firm Smedvig Capital, which sold the company.

Other than the change of CEO, Cornerstone said Nick Pink will become its chief investor officer, Alex Sutherland will become chief financial officer and Peter de Haas will become head of business development, continental Europe. James Salmon remains chief operating officer.

Weeks said of his appointment: “This is an exciting time for the European business, despite challenging market conditions. Capital flows in Cornerstone are happening in both directions across the Atlantic, new investment markets are opening up for us, a number of our European projects are gaining traction and there is significant investment in the European business to grow and expand our platform.”

In 2011, Cornerstone, which is the wholly-owned real estate investment management business of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), attracted European investment capital for its value-added US funds and its open-ended fund, it said in its announcement. Cornerstone Europe also invested US capital into two specific strategies in the UK, industrial and London offices. The firm said it was also reviewing various debt strategies for the country – a first for the firm.

In all, it completed on more than $8 billion worth of property bought and sold in the US and Europe, the firm said. Within that, the firm completed $2.4 billion equity acquisitions and invested about $5 billion in debt transactions. The firm also raised more than $2 billion from existing and new investors from US, Europe and Asia for its debt and equity investment vehicles and for separate accounts.

The firm ended 2011 with more than $33 billion of assets under management, up approximately 6 percent from the beginning of the year.