Top property job becomes vacant at the EBRD

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is on the hunt for a new director of property and tourism - one of the most significant roles in Eastern European property.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which has €1 billion of property investments in eastern European markets, is on the hunt for a new director of property and tourism.

PERE has learned that Sylvia Gansser-Potts, who took over the reins as real estate chief in December 2007, is leaving her position at the end of September to become director of EU Banks within the organisation, freeing up the influential property role.

Whoever takes over the London-based post will be able to lay claim to having one of the most significant roles in eastern European property markets as the EBRD is involved in 109 projects worth a combined value of €6.56 billion according to the bank, which adds on its corporate website that it is the single largest investor in the region overall.

Former holders of the director of property position include Marc Mogull, who established the bank’s property team in 1993 before going on to set up the first Doughty Hanson & Co European real estate fund.

The EBRD, which is owned by 61 countries, two intergovernmental organisations and only assists countries ‘committed to principles of multi-party democracy and pluralism’, commands €1 billion of property in both debt and equity investments. It is a significant limited partner in its own right – sometimes being a cornerstone investor. Last year, it invested €75 million in the regional Hines Property Fund, which focuses on buying assets from distressed sellers and lenders and pursues distressed development projects.

Since Gansser-Potts took over, the EBRD has also invested in Heitman European Property Partners IV.

Taking into account financing for property and tourism projects, Gansser-Potts has led a team that has invested in no less than 22 countries from Croatia and Azerbaijan, to the Kyrgz Republic, Slovak Republic, Moldova, and Kazakhstan.

In 2010, the bank approved 14 property and tourism deals, committing €258 million in the process to real estate with a total value of €656 million. Two notables transactions were a €37 million investment to redevelop the Sveti Stefan hotel in Montenegro where the bank is trying to convert the coast into a high-end resort, and €22 million in the Technopolis project in St Petersburg, Russia, where the EBRD is helping finance a science and technology park in order to aid the Russian economy in further diversifying from raw materials to services and a knowledge-based economy.

A spokeswoman confirmed the EBRD was now in the process of hiring a replacement property head. The new incumbent would manage the EBRD’s property and tourism’s resources, budget and staff, would be responsible for orchestrating reviews and approving projects as well as managing the existing portfolio of loans. The new head would also put forward fresh commitments to property funds for approval by the board.