Westbrook boosts acquisitions team by five

The private equity real estate firm with more than $3bn in dry powder has hired Matthew Kenney, David Finkel, Zubin Irani, Andrew Gummer and Kunihiko Okumura as principals and managing principals to work from its New York, London and Tokyo offices.

Westbrook Partners has added five senior executives to its acquisitions team as the firm prepares to deploy more than $3 billion in dry powder.

The private equity real estate firm, which made its last significant deal in August 2007, has hired real estate veterans to boost its teams in New York, London and Tokyo.

Matthew Kenney, a founder and managing partner of Boston-based hotel brokerage Pinnacle Realty Investments, has joined the New York office as principal to help bolster the firm’s hotel platform.

David Finkel and Zubin Irani, former managing directors at iStar Financial and Goldman Sachs’ Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds respectively, have been appointed managing principals in London. Finkel will help grow Westbrook’s operations in Europe. Irani is expected to work on debt investments when he starts in March.

Andrew Gummer, previously a senior vice president and European counsel of iStar, has been appointed a principal to work on legal matters in London, while Kunihiko Okumura will boost the acquisitions team in Japan. Okumura was formerly senior vice president in Lehman Brothers’ global real estate group working commercial mortgage originations and securitisations. He joins Westbrook as principal.

Westbrook declined to comment on the appointments.

However, the firm is believed to be preparing to deploy significant capital from its two latest funds, the $1.65 billion Westbrook Real Estate Fund 7 and the $2.5 billion Westbrook Real Estate Fund 8, which closed in May last year. Westbrook has dry powder of more than $3 billion, including around $800 million from Fund 7.

The firm, founded in 1994 by chief executive officer Paul Kazilionis, has traditionally invested across all property sectors, focusing on the US, UK, France and Japan. It has around 100 employees globally.