Gecina, the Paris-based real estate investment trust, has appointed former Ivanhoé Cambridge president of Europe, Meka Brunel, as it chief executive officer (CEO).
Gecina chairman Bernard Michel confirmed the firm’s board of directors, which met on January 6, had unanimously decided to appoint Brunel. Michel added that the primary reason for Brunel’s recruitment was to strengthen the firm’s presence in the Paris office market, where around 90 percent of its property holdings lie.
Brunel, who will replace Philippe Depoux, Gecina’s CEO since April 2013, had been president of Europe at Ivanhoé Cambridge, the real estate arm of Canada’s second largest pension fund, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, since 2009 as well as being one the firm’s board since 2014.
“Meka Brunel, in close collaboration with the board of directors, will build on the solid fundamentals of Gecina to accelerate the strengthening of its leading position in the office market in Paris focusing on operational, financial and environmental performance,” said Michel.
After joining Ivanhoé Cambridge in 2009, as executive vice president of Europe, where she worked under president Bill Tresham, Brunel was responsible for the investment, asset management and development activities of the firm’s European real estate platform. Then, as recently as March last year, she was appointed as president of Europe.
Prior to Ivanhoé Cambridge, Brunel worked at French property firm GFC from 1996, where she served as director for strategic development, taking a lead role when GFC merged with fellow French property company Foncina to form Gecina. She then moved to French REIT Eurosic in 2006, working as a director until 2009.
In 2014, Spanish property company Metrovacesa sold its remaining 27 percent in Gecina to a group of investors including Blackstone, Norges Bank and, incidentally, Ivanhoe Cambridge.