Peakside Capital appoints former Heitman Europe co-head

Otis Spencer has joined the Merrill Lynch spin-out as president of Peakside Polonia Management, the central and eastern Europe fund management business that Peakside took over from Allied Irish Banks last year.

Peakside Capital, the European private equity real estate firm, has made a high-profile appointment in the shape of Otis Spencer, a former co-head of Europe at Heitman.

Peakside is expected to confirm his appointment later today, with the announcement that Spencer has been appointed as a managing director and president of the firm’s central and eastern Europe subsidiary, Peakside Polonia Management, which controls €160 million of capital commitments with properties in Poland and Hungary. Peakside took over Polonia Management from Allied Irish Banks in April last year via Peakside Real Estate Fund I (PREF I), a pan-European opportunistic fund with €261 million of capital commitments focused and investments across Europe.

Spencer has a brief to work alongside Stefan Aumann, a founding partner at Peakside, and will be responsible for sourcing new business and further expanding the Polish platform as well as aiding Aumann and a team at Peakside Polonia Management with the management of core and core-plus vehicles, Polonia Property Fund I and Polonia Property Fund II.

Spencer is best known for his seven-year spell co-running Heitman’s European business. Since September last year, he has been co-head and managing director of fledgling firm KSP Real Estate Investment Management, which according to its website was expecting to hold a first close of its maiden fund in mid-2013. He has also worked at the Dutch pension fund manager APG, ING Real Estate and RREEF.

Peakside Capital was formed in September 2010 following a spin-out of the European Real Estate Principal Investments (EMEA REPI) division of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. As of the first quarter of this year, it manages 43 investments across 9 different European countries, totalling over €1.8 billion in gross asset value.

Commenting on the appointment of Spencer, Aumann said: “Otis’s extensive knowledge and proven track record will be invaluable to Peakside as we further expand our platform in Poland, which was started with the acquisition of (Polonia Management) in August 2012.”