Globalization has to start somewhere. In the case of European private equity real estate, it arguably began when US investment banks moved their principal real estate investment arms across the Atlantic—in other words, it began with Roger Orf.
By setting up the European arm of Goldman Sachs' Whitehall Funds in 1991, Orf was at the vanguard of the internationalization of private equity real estate, one of the most important trends in the brief history of the asset class. He later went on to cement his position as a conduit for new equity into Europe when he set up Pelham Partners, which invested in European property on behalf of Apollo. Later he moved to Lone Star, where he headed the US firm's push into Europe, orchestrating the acquisition of more than €5 billion worth of German non-performing loans and €1 billion worth of assets in France and Germany. Nowadays, Orf can be found at Citigroup, after being handpicked by Joe Azrack to run the European arm of Citigroup Property Investors.
Despite spending a decade and a half at the head of some of the largest firms doing business in Europe, Orf is still making headlines. After partly financing Guy Hands' €7 billion acquisition of the Viterra portfolio, Citigroup PI is working on plans to float the company.
One person familiar with Orf said: “He is a leader at making markets where there wasn't a market.”