Patrizia appoints new leadership as founder steps down as co-CEO

The business will be run by DWS's former CEO, who resigned last year in the wake of greenwashing allegations.

Close to 40 years after founding Patrizia as a residential property investor in Augsburg, Germany, Wolfgang Egger is stepping down as co-CEO of the €59 billion-AUM asset manager. According to an announcement, Egger is “fully committed” to the company, will remain a majority shareholder and will focus on strategic client relations as a member of the board of directors.

After a short transition period, Patrizia will be led by Asoka Wöhrmann, former chief executive of DWS Group, the €833 billion publicly listed asset management arm of Deutsche Bank.

Wöhrmann: former DWS head is CEO designate at Patrizia

“Asoka Wöhrmann brings a comprehensive international leadership experience, in-depth knowledge of financial markets and the global asset management industry as well as a broad international client network to Patrizia,” said Egger of the appointment.

Wöhrmann’s appointment to CEO designate, effective immediately, comes less than a year after he resigned from his role at DWS amid allegations the firm was inflating its ESG credentials. DWS has denied that it misled investors, but investigations by German and US officials into the greenwashing claims are ongoing. At the time of his resignation, Wöhrmann said that he wished “to clear the way for a fresh start.”

Alongside Wöhrmann’s hire, the firm also announced Slava Shafir as incoming COO. Effective June 1, Shafir will manage Patrizia’s business operations, IT and fund services. Shafir was formerly operating partner at New York-headquartered private equity and infrastructure manager Corsair Capital since 2021. He has previously held roles at Barclays Venture Capital, Barclays UK and Deutsche Bank Investment and Wealth Management.

Included in the announcement was also a role change for co-CEO Thomas Wels, who joined the business in 2020 to work alongside Egger and broaden the firm’s investment portfolio into infrastructure and other real asset classes, as previously reported by PERE. The announcement specified that Wels, who was previously head of global real estate at UBS Asset Management, had reached “the end of his term” as co-CEO and would move into a senior advisory role focusing in particular on Asia-Pacific and Japan.

Indeed, Asia-Pacific remains a core focus area for Patrizia. Regional head Thomas Hirschvogel told PERE in November the firm was looking to double its assets under management in APAC by 2027 following the opening of a new office in Singapore. Back in 2019, the manager expanded its investment management capabilities in the region by acquiring Tokyo-based real estate advisory and asset management firm Kenzo Capital Corporation.

Patrizia has made a string of corporate acquisitions in recent years. Most recently, the firm acquired Australian infrastructure manager Whitehelm Capital in February 2022 as part of a push to expand its infrastructure offering. European investment managers Rockspring, Triuva and Sparinvest Property Investors were all purchased in 2018.

The new leadership follows a change in legal structure for Patrizia in June last year, when the firm became an SE company, or Societas Europaea, and established a new executive committee. The move coincided with the departure of former CIO Anne Kavanagh for London-based construction company Telford Homes.

As per the Deutsche Börse XETRA, Patrizia’s share price has fallen more than 44 percent over the past five years, standing at €9.50 per share at press time.