RREEF's changing of the guard

The real estate and infrastructure investment firm has named two new co-heads of its European business following an organizational restructuring.

RREEF, the real estate and infrastructure arm of Deutsche Bank, has named Pierre Cherki and Chris Papachristophorou as co-heads of the firm's European platform following the announced retirement of David Brush.

Cherki, who ran the French and CEE regions, and Papachristophorou, who was responsible for building the opportunity funds' activities in Italy, Greece, the Balkans and Turkey, will become co-chief executive officers for Europe.

The move comes in response to Brush's recent decision to retire in 2008 after 20 years at the firm. He will continue to work with RREEF as a consultant.

Brush held two roles, the European head of RREEF and head of global opportunity funds. From now on, those roles will be split. Alistair Dixon, previously co-head of the European opportunity fund team, takes over as the global chief of opportunity funds.

Papachristophorou said he and Cherki would continue overseeing and implementing a program that began 18 months ago to integrate asset management and investment activities across Europe so the firm can become a “one-stop shop.”

“We find the current structure, where we have two people who have worked together and know each other, to be extremely powerful,” he said. “It will not slow down decision making.”

One of the next moves for Cherki and Papachristophorou is to rebrand RREEF's German business. In terms of the firm's investment strategy, the broad themes are staying in place. “We will continue through our partnerships to invest in emerging markets, mainly in the residential and retail sectors; continue on the path of corporate acquisition like Printemps; and look at niche markets such as hospitality or second homes in the residential sector,” Papachristophorou said.

Brush was not the only one to announce his departure from the firm recently. Co-head of Europe, Daniel Rigny, left last month to pursue other opportunities. And change is not just limited to Europe. Last month, it was reported that Steve Steppe, the chairman of RREEF in the US, and partner Mark Carlson are leaving to join San Franciscobased Stockbridge Capital Partners. Steppe transitioned from chief executive officer of North America to chairman of North America earlier this year. Timothy Gonzalez, previously the head of acquisitions in the region, has taken on the role of CEO.

RREEF manages approximately €59 billion in assets. Last year, the firm raised $1.6 billion for a global opportunity fund.