CPI loses US head as platform sale heats up

Larry Ellman, Citi Property Investors’ head of North American investments, has quit the firm as its sale enters the final week. Ellman's responsibilities now fall to CPI's asset management head, Robert Scoville.

Larry Ellman, managing director and head of North America investments at Citi Property Investors, left the business at the end of last week.

His departure comes just as the CPI platform is due to come under new management. A preferred bidder from a shortlist of Apollo Management and Macquarie Capital Advisors is expected to be selected this week. ING Real Estate Investment Management pulled out of the bidding process two weeks ago.

Ellman has departed to join Boston-based Berkshire Group, the real estate business founded by the Krupp brothers. He is expected to assume a similar role at Berkshire as he did at CPI.

Ellman has more than 20 years experience in real estate investment. Prior to joining CPI, he was managing director at JP Morgan Fleming. Before that he was chief investment officer at the JW O’Connor Group in New York.

His responsibilities now fall to Robert Scoville, CPI’s current head of the portfolio and asset management team. Scoville joined CPI in 1996 from JER Partners.

According to sources close to the matter, Citi has fully invested CPI Capital Partners North America, which closed in November 2006, on $600 million.

The departure of the head of CPI’s North American business mirrors what has happened in Asia, where investment head David Schaefer departed last year to be replaced by Ravi Hansoty, although he has a more investment focused background than Scoville. The $1.3 billion CPI Capital Partners Asia Pacific LP was also fully invested when Schaefer departed. I closed after on February 9, 2007, with commitments totalling $1.29 billion.

None of the parties involved would comment.