Michael Rowan to head GE Real Estate’s Americas business

GE’s former managing director for the UK will be heading up the firm’s equity investments in the Americas, including its investments in Canada, Mexico and South America.

GE Real Estate, the property investment arm of US conglomerate General Electric, has named Michael Rowan as president of its Americas Equity group.

Rowan, who was formerly managing director for GE Real Estate’s UK region, will be responsible for leading the firm’s equity investments, including venture and direct investments and the firm’s Arden and InterPark operations. He will also oversee its Canadian, Mexican and South American investment.

GE was not available for comment.

Rowan has been with the firm since the early 1980s. Most recently as managing director for the UK, Rowan grew assets for both debt and equity from around $2 billion (€1.3 billion) to more than $8 billion. He was previously a business leader for GE Real Estate’s Specialized Industries group. Rowan has also worked at the Heller Financial Real Estate Group, acquired by GE Real Estate in 2001, and at ITT Real Estate Services.

GE has been expanding its team of professionals in the US as well as in Europe. Last month, the firm hired Fabio Donato as managing director for its Italy office. Donato was formerly president of AXA REIM Italy. The firm also promoted its European general counsel, Thierry Leleu, as managing director of its fund management team in Europe.

Earlier this year it was revealed that GE Real Estate was planning its first third-party funds after years of investing its own money in property. The firm was planning to launch private equity real estate funds, according to the Wall Street Journal. GE Real Estate has been making direct investments in real estate with its own money for 15 years.

GE Real Estate chief executive Joe Parsons said at the time GE was looking to raise $1 billion to $3 billion for the first two funds, contributing 10 percent to 25 percent of its own money. It would use local agents in real estate markets around the world to look for properties to fit into the fund with Parsons adding that the first funds would likely focus on North America and Europe, office buildings in major US cities as well as at retail and residential assets in central Europe.