Report: Apollo hires former UK mortgage boss

Adam Applegarth, who was chief executive of Northern Rock when it was saved by the UK government last year, is reportedly taking up an advisory role at Apollo Management.

Leon Black’s Apollo Global Management has secured Adam Applegarth as an advisor.

UK newspaper The Times reported today that he will take up a senior advisory role to the firm’s European fund, which specializes in buying loans – distressed real estate debt included.

Applegarth is the former chief executive of Northern Rock, which was in danger of collapse last year before the UK government stepped in to nationalise it.

Apollo’s European Principal Finance Fund (EPF) has been active of late in countries including Germany and invests primarily in European non-performing loans.

Applegarth’s appointment comes as the New York-headquartered firm prepares for an IPO of a debt REIT in the US.

It launched Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance in July with the intention of raising $600 million. However, last week it emerged the firm has halved the initial target.

Some industry veterans argue the size of distressed debt opportunity may have been over-stated.

On Thursday last week, private equity real estate grandee Sam Zell added his voice to the debate, saying the scale of the debt opportunity in US real estate wouldn’t be as “gigantic” as many have predicted.

Interviewed by PERE magazine at the 4th annual Kirkland & Ellis Real Estate Private Equity Forum in New York yesterday, Zell said many borrowers had been given a “hope certificate” by financial institutions, which are willing to extend maturities when debt service payments are current.