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TIAA-CREF RE head, CIO to leave

The planned departures of both Tom Garbutt and Phil McAndrews coincides with the company’s formation of a new real assets group.

Tom Garbutt, head of TIAA-CREF’s global real estate business, and Phil McAndrews, chief investment officer (CIO) for global real estate, are both leaving after more than 25 years, the New York-based financial services organization announced on Tuesday.

Garbutt, who has been with TIAA-CREF for more than 34 years, is retiring and will remain as an advisor during a transition period. McAndrews, who joined the company in 1990, also will be exiting after a transition period to pursue other opportunities. Garbutt and McAndrews will remain as advisors to the global real estate business during 2016.

Garbutt and McAndrews’ departures were part of a larger announcement that TIAA-CREF made regarding the formation of a new real assets group that would include the firm’s global real estate, agriculture, timber, infrastructure and energy teams, along with related subsidiaries TH Real Estate, Westchester Group Investment Management, GreenWood Resources and Churchill Asset Management. The new business will operate as a standalone unit within TIAA-CREF’s asset management business.

Heading the new group as president will be Jose Minaya, who currently serves as head of private markets asset management, where he developed several teams for agriculture, timber, energy and infrastructure. Meanwhile, Heather Davis, CIO of TIAA-CREF’s private markets group, will become CIO of the real assets division, while John MacCarthy, who has been Nuveen Investments’ chief legal officer for 10 years, has been named chief operating officer of the new unit. Both David and MacCarthy will report to Minaya.

TIAA-CREF said it did not intend to hire replacements for Garbutt and McAndrews' positions. Instead, Minaya would lead the global real estate business along with the group's other underlying asset classes that he had already been overseeing, while Davis would also assume CIO responsibility for the global real estate group.

Among the new platform’s other senior executives will be Chris McGibbon, TIAA-CREF’s head of real estate for the Americas, and Mike Sales, head of TH Real Estate, which is focused on real estate in Europe and Asia, as well as the presidents of TIAA-CREF’s three other real assets subsidiaries.

TIAA-CREF has invested directly in commercial real estate for more than 60 years and in natural resources and other real assets for more than two decades, and managed approximately $100 billion in real assets as of December 31. The combined real assets platform will encompass some 900 employees across 31 offices in 61 countries. The organization had $854 billion in total assets under management as of year-end 2015.

The formation of TIAA-CREF’s new real assets group follows the creation of BlackRock’s real assets platform, which was announced last month. The New York-based asset manager named Jim Barry, head of its infrastructure business, to lead the new group, while its global head of real estate, Marcus Sperber, will report to Barry.