Rachel Oh will be driving forward the real estate activities of one of the world’s biggest state retirement funds, National Pension Service of Korea, after her former boss recommended her promotion, PERE has learned.

Scott Kim resigned in October after six years in the role. Upon resigning, he made his recommendation for succession to NPS chief investment officer Hyo-Joon Ahn.

Oh, who is currently head of North America real estate, was expected to be among those considered for the promotion, alongside fellow regional heads Derek Dong Hyun Choi, who leads NPS’s European real estate activities and Byung Hak Han who does likewise in Asia.

It is understood that Oh was officially selected earlier this week, after the decision was made. Initially, she will assume the title of ‘acting head of real estate’. It is expected she will assume the role on a permanent basis from next spring, in line with the time when most state entities confirm their promotions.

PERE understands that, of the three regional heads in NPS’s real estate division, Oh possessed the most international experience and was considered best positioned to continue the investor’s array of international manager relationships, which include sector heavyweight names such as Hines, Tishman Speyer, Allianz, Blackstone and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing.

In 2020, Kim oversaw a reorganization of NPS’s 33-person strong real estate division from two global and domestic real estate teams to three Asia, Europe and North America regional teams. Previously, Oh was responsible for NPS’s global real estate activities and worked from its London office before she relocated to New York to lead its American endeavors.

Oh boasts the longest tenure at NPS of the three, having worked for the state pension investor for a large part of the last decade. She has worked in Kim’s team for his entire tenure, a time during which NPS’s real estate business grew from approximately $11 billon to about $29 billion in assets, placing NPS in 15th place in PERE’s latest annual Global Investor 100 ranking.

She takes over as NPS plans to increase its alternative assets allocation from approximately 11 percent of $750 billion of holdings currently to 15 percent of the total by 2025. NPS currently participates in 48 manager relationships, a number that Kim told PERE was too many in an exclusive interview published in July.

He said then that between 30 and 35 manager relationships would be optimal. He added that there was a plan to reduce the roster as certain tie-ups expire, while committing bigger checks to longstanding relationships. Oh is understood to have played a critical role in some of NPS’s highest profile deals and ventures as part of this strategy, including this month’s $1.5 billion separate account with Tishman Speyer and another of the same size awarded to Hines in December 2020.

Do you have more than a passing interest in US real estate credit markets? If so, be sure to check out our recently launched affiliate publication Real Estate Capital USA.

Have you entered a nomination submission for the forthcoming 2021 PERE Global Awards? Your window to do so closes at the end of the week. To enter click here.