Knight Frank IM appoints CEO successor

Matthew McDonald has been appointed to lead the London-based manager after Kevin Aitchison moves to rival Savills Investment Management.

Knight Frank Investment Management has moved quickly to announce a successor to its outgoing chief executive officer Kevin Aitchison.

PERE can reveal the firm has appointed Matthew McDonald, a board member of the firm since 2015 who had responsibility for the products division of the business.

He has been primarily focused on KFIM’s principal pooled fund, KFIM Long Income Property Unit Trust. The vehicle was established in 2016 and today has a net asset value of approximately £900 million ($1.145 billion; €1.047 billion).

Before joining Knight Frank’s investment management business, he held positions at listed company Dorrington Properties and managers ING Real Estate Investment Management and CBRE Investment Management.

His appointment is part of domino of senior movements after Aitchison was hired by Knight Frank rival Savills’ investment management business as managing director – equity investments UK & Europe, a newly created role that begins at the end of the year.

Aitchison’s arrival was announced last week alongside the retirement of Savills IM’s deputy chief executive and global chief investment officer Kiran Patel, who was with the firm for 12 years.

While a smaller business than the real estate investment management platforms of Knight Frank’s brokerage rivals CBRE, JLL and Savills, KFIM has nonetheless grown its assets under management significantly in the last decade from £500 million to more than €4 billion today.