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Debt heads Zerda and Howard resign roles

LaSalle Investment Management’s Michael Zerda is joining Blackstone and BlackRock’s Rawle Howard is joining CPPIB.

Two of the UK real estate debt industry’s top decision makers are changing jobs. LaSalle Investment Management’s Michael Zerda is joining Blackstone and BlackRock’s Rawle Howard is joining Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

Zerda, European director in the debt investments and special situations group at LaSalle, is to become managing director at Blackstone Real Estate Debt Strategies (BREDS). He will report to senior managing director Rob Harper and is expected to start in Q1 2016.

Zerda joined LaSalle in 2009 from private equity firm MGPA and has overseen a number of notable deals for its £600 million LaSalle Real Estate Debt Strategies II fund, including most recently a £103 million whole loan to Brockton Capital at a loan-to-value of 75 percent for its £137 million acquisition of Great Minster North in Victoria, London.

He also helped manage the £440 million LaSalle Residential Finance fund, which lends on residential, student accommodation and hotel development in the UK.

Zerda joins Blackstone as it launches its capital raising for its next BREDS III global private real estate debt fund which is targeting about $4 billion. He will be expected to play an important role in any of the fund’s deployment in Europe.

Howard joined Blackrock from Lehman Brothers in 2008. The US money manager began expanding its investment in European real estate debt in 2012 and one of Howard’s recent deals was taking a €100 million mezzanine participation from Citigroup, in a €650 million loan secured on Cerberus’s portfolio of German Metro stores.

He will report to Martin Healey, managing director and head of private real estate debt at CPPIB when he joins in November.