GE hires European fund management exec to build business

GE Real Estate, which is in the process of setting up a property fund business to rival the likes of Morgan Stanley and Blackstone, has appointed the firm’s general counsel and former Orion Capital real estate professional Thierry Leleu as managing director in Europe.

GE Real Estate has promoted its European general counsel Thierry Leleu to managing director of its new property investment management division in Europe as the firm attempts to take on some of the biggest names in private equity real estate.

GE said Leleu, its European general counsel since April 2006, would become managing director in Europe of the fund management arm. The former Orion Capital fund manager used to be a corporate partner at law firm Norton Rose where he advised private equity real estate funds on European transactions, according to a statement.

Joe Parsons, president and chief executive at GE Real Estate, is leading the firm’s effort to raise and invest funds on behalf of third parties in a move revealed in March this year. It is a radical departure for a company that traditionally invested its own balance sheet. The US conglomerate aims to raise between $1 billion and $3 billion for its first two real estate funds.

GE said Leleu would work with Parsons and Olivier Piani, president and chief executive of GE Real Estate in Europe. GE is already one of the largest real estate investors in the world with $87 billion (€55 billion) of assets in 31 countries.