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LaSalle hires for new senior roles in Europe including CIO

The Chicago-based real estate investment management firm has created three senior roles for its European platform, including regional chief investment officer and country heads for Germany and France. Each role has been filled internally.

LaSalle Investment Management, the Chicago-based real estate investment management firm, has promoted one of its managing directors in continental Europe to the newly-created role of chief investment officer for the region. The promotion was one of a number by LaSalle in Europe into newly created roles.

The firm announced today it had promoted Andy Watson to the role and had made him responsible for the firm’s investment performance, strategy, underwriting, investment decision-making and new product development. He will also manage the firm’s portfolio management teams across the region and will chair its investment committee.

In addition to promoting Watson to become its first continental Europe CIO, LaSalle also has created new country head roles for Germany and France and has appointed two other current staffers, Claus Thomas and Karim Habra respectively, into them. Thomas was previously responsible for capital raising in German-speaking countries and Italy and Spain. Habra previously was responsible for LaSalle’s central and eastern European platform.

Thomas and Habra have been mandated to manage LaSalle’s existing operations in France and Germany, but also to grow them and the firm said that would happen by focusing on its domestic clients as well as attracting international clients to work with it.

All three of them will report to LaSalle’s long-serving chief executive in Europe, Simon Marrison, who said the changes would enable the firm to better serve existing and future investor clients as well as improve its focus on the growth of these markets.

He said: “LaSalle Investment Management has seen strong growth in Europe in recent years, as investors increasingly see well-managed real estate as a central part of their portfolio. This change to our organizational structure on the Continent will enable us to better serve our existing and future investor clients, improve our focus on growth in our major markets and give us greater consistency of execution across all the countries we work in.” 

In addition, LaSalle has appointed David Ironside as responsible for “large scale investments on a continent wide basis” as well as assuming the firm’s relationships with German investors, and Chris Zeuner to be its head of central and Eastern Europe.

LaSalle currently manages approximately $53 billion of assets worldwide.