Thompson hires former Grubb and Ellis exec to head Middle East fund

Tony Thompson’s new private equity real estate firm hires another Grubb and Ellis professional, Darrell Betts, as chief investment officer and president of its Middle East operations.

Thompson National Properties, the private equity real estate firm set up by former Grubb & Ellis chairman Anthony Thompson last month, has hired Darrell Betts as chief investment officer and president of its Middle East fund.

Betts, a 20-year real estate industry veteran, was previously senior vice president at the investment group Grubb & Ellis, where he headed the Southwest investment operation.

In a statement, Thompson said Betts would be responsible for acquisitions and funding equity for Thompson National Properties’ Middle East Fund. “Darrell personifies the spirit of entrepreneurial, client-oriented excellence,” he said. Betts will be based in Thompson’s new Houston office, along with two more appointments from Grubb & Ellis, Jessica Alexander and Lain Cimarosti Porter, as senior analysts.

Thompson launched the Irvine-California-based firm – which invests on behalf of high-net-worth US and international institutional investors – last month saying current market represented a “once in a lifetime opportunity. Buy into fear and sell into greed has never been more appropriate.”

Thompson co-founded Triple Net Properties in 1998, and together with its parent company, NNN Realty Advisors, specialized in pooling investors’ money into the joint ownership of large commercial properties across the US under the tenancy in common (TIC). In 2007, NNN Realty completed a reverse merger with Grubb & Ellis.

Already Thompson has lured Triple Net Properties co-founder Jack Maurer to the firm as vice-chairman, partner and founding member, along with former NFL American football quarterback Cade McNown, who joins as senior vice president of investor development.