US NEWS: Moving on

Barden Gale, chief executive officer of JER Partners, resigned from the firm at the end of December, leaving senior directors in charge. PERE Magazine, February 2012 issue

The resignation of Barden Gale as chief executive officer of JER Partners in December had two effects. The first was to add an even greater feeling of sadness to a firm that lost its inspirational founder, Joseph Robert, to cancer that same month. The second was to create a large question mark over what happens next.
Gale left the running of JER to senior directors such as Michael McGillis, who joined approximately six years ago, and veterans Keith Belcher and Daniel Ward, who have been with the McLean, Virginia-based firm for more than 20 years. The firm declined to comment on Gale’s departure other to confirm it was recent, but those that know JER suspect it has no immediate plans to fill the vacant CEO post with outside help.

The job of leading JER has become a lot smaller since Gale joined in 2009 and Robert stepped back. The firm’s Latin America business has been jettisoned and its European division is being transferred to LaSalle Investment Management, leaving JER to concentrate solely on its domestic US market. Only time will tell whether the firm will simply continue to manage its US assets or whether it will ever raise another fund again.

What becomes of Gale is likely to become obvious much sooner. It is thought that he did not have another job at the time of his decision to leave, but chances are he will make a comeback in a senior role given his blue-chip pedigree, which includes stints at Starwood Capital Group and APG Investment US, the US investment arm of Dutch pension fund Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP.