Bill Tresham, president of Ivanhoé Cambridge, real estate subsidiary of Canadian pension plan Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, has left the company and is now acting as a strategic advisor.
“You’ve got to kiss a hundred frogs to find the prince, and you don’t find things automatically, but when you do, there’s pots of gold.”
Tresham stepped down about six weeks ago from his role as president, which is not being replaced. Instead, the five presidents of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s business units: Sylvain Fortier, head of residential, hotels and real estate investment funds; Rita-Rose Gagné, head of growth markets; Arthur Lloyd, head of the North America office; Claude Sirois, head of retail; and a still-to-be named new head of Europe – will report to Daniel Fournier, Ivanhoé Cambridge’s chairman and chief executive.
“We are operating in a very competitive environment where it will be increasingly challenging to deliver the returns that are expected from us,” said a company spokesman. “As part of our ongoing strategic planning, we decided to enhance our focus on searching for alternative sources of returns. All five business units are given this mandate to look for new ways to generate return.”
He added: “Bill Tresham accepted a mandate as a strategic advisor to focus exclusively on the assignment of finding alternative sources of return.”
As strategic advisor, Tresham told PERE he will be able to focus on “out of the box alternatives,” particularly on larger entity-level opportunities, something he had less capacity to do managing day-to-day operations as president.
Tresham noted that the company’s entity-level investments were among their best-performing. “Where we really did make huge returns, the greatest return on capital came from situations where you’re solving ownership problems,” he said.
Ivanhoé Cambridge’s platform investments have included French office real estate investment trust Gecina and Mexican real estate developer MIRA, both in 2014; the acquisition of Evergreen Industrial Properties from TPG Real Estate in July; and the September privatization of Monogram Residential Trust as a founding capital partner Greystar Real Estate Partners’ core-plus multifamily fund, Greystar Growth and Income Fund.
“What’s astounding to me about these opportunities is that there’s no limit to size, there’s so many public companies where there are ownership and management disconnects,” he said. “You’ve got to kiss a hundred frogs to find the prince, and you don’t find things automatically, but when you do, there’s pots of gold.”
One of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s key investment partners responded favorably to the leadership transition. “We don’t expect things to change,” said Bob Faith, chairman and chief executive at Greystar. “They’re terrific partners, and these changes will allow them to be as entrepreneurial as they have been in the past.”
Tresham joined the pension plan in 2010 as chief operating officer of office real estate at CDPQ real estate subsidiary SITQ. In September of that year, he was elevated to president and chief executive of SITQ. In July 2011, he then became president of global investments at Ivanhoé Cambridge after Ivanhoe Cambridge, SITQ and CDPQ’s in-house real estate group were consolidated into one entity responsible for all of the pension plan’s real estate equity investments. In that role, he was responsible for all investment, operation and development activities globally for the company.
Prior to Ivanhoé Cambridge, Tresham served as the partner and chief operating officer at Callahan Capital Partners. He also served in a number of positions at Trizec Properties from 1995 to 2006, most recently as chief operating officer.
CDPQ is one of the largest global real estate investors in the world, ranking 13th in PERE’s 2017 Global Investor 50 list. Ivanhoé Cambridge held approximately C$56 billion ($43.7 billion; €37.48 billion) in assets as of December 31, according to its website.