Last month, CBRE Global Investors (GI), the real estate investment management arm of Los Angeles-based commercial property services firm CBRE Group, announced a surprise shakeup in its leadership team. Matt Khourie, who had served as chief executive of CBRE GI for six years, was assuming the top post at CBRE’s development services subsidiary, Trammell Crow Company. Succeeding Khourie, meanwhile, was Ritson Ferguson, who was named global chief investment officer at CBRE GI only seven months prior.
Ferguson was not well-known in the private equity real estate industry before he became CBRE GI’s global chief investment officer last August, in a newly created role. At the time, Khourie told PERE that the company decided to create the role amid rising interest from its largest clients in cross-border opportunities.
That cross-border focus at CBRE GI will continue with Ferguson at the helm. In an interview with PERE, he noted that he created a global investment council of senior investors and researchers while global CIO and will continue to lead that group as CEO.
Ferguson said he did not plan a major overhaul of the CBRE GI business. “It’s not a business that needs immediate changes or fixes,” he said. “It’s appropriate at this point to be very cycle aware. We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we should manage our assets, how we should be disciplined sellers.”
Ferguson attributed Khourie’s leadership to the outperformance of 75 percent of CBRE GI’s assets under management against their benchmark indices. In 2016, he said he will continue Khourie’s focus on returns, while also prioritizing the recruitment of high-performing employees.
Like his predecessor, Ferguson has had a long history at CBRE. He started his real estate career working at Trammell Crow before eventually going on to co-found the predecessor entity to what would become Clarion Securities. CBRE acquired the business as part of its 2011 purchase of Dutch financial company ING’s real estate investment management platform.