Savills Investment Management has appointed Alex Jeffrey as its new chief executive officer ending a period of transition in the real estate investment firm’s management which has endured since global CEO and chairman Justin O’Connor quit the UK firm in July last year.
Jeffrey, who will be based in Singapore, joins Savills Investment Management from Prudential Group unit M&G Investments, where he had served as head of Asia Pacific.
“I am delighted to welcome Alex as CEO of Savills IM,” Mark Ridley, chief executive of Savills Group said in a statement. “His experience will be instrumental in leading a strong management team to deliver our aspirations for the business over the coming years.”
London Firm Shifts to Asia
Savills’ choice of Jeffery, who has been based in Singapore since being appointed to his APAC role in late 2017, shows the firm’s determination to grow its footprint in the region.
“The fact he will be based in Singapore is a clear demonstration of the importance we attach to Savills’ future growth potential in the Asia Pacific region, linked to our strong UK and European platform,” Ridley said. “The board and I look forward to working with him.”
Savills had attempted to begin the transition towards Asia under O’Connor’s leadership with the then global chief having been slated to add the role of head of APAC to his chairman and CEO roles last year. That transition, which included plans for O’Connor to relocated to Hong Kong in August 2018, was interrupted when the 15-year company veteran suddenly resigned from his leadership roles, and quit Savills IM at the beginning of July last year, without ever taking that final flight to Chek Lap Kok.
Before O’Connor’s departure, the executive had indicated in an exclusive interview with Mingtiandi, that the company intended to grows its assets under management in Asia Pacific, then at around $2 billion, to $5 billion within the next few years.
Following O’Connor’s resignation, Savills IM had promoted deputy chairman Nick Cooper into the chairman role while giving chief investment officer Kiran Patel the title of acting global CEO alongside his investment responsibilities.
APAC Veteran Takes the Top Role
In its statement, Savills IM, which operates as the real estate investment management arm of Savills Group, indicated that Jeffrey would assume his new duties later this year, subject to regulatory approval.
In his new role, which involves also becoming a member of the Savills Group Executive Board, Jeffrey will be responsible for growing Savills IM’s business, which currently includes £16 billion ($20.7 billion) in assets under management, after the fund manager raised more than £2.4 billion of new capital from clients in 2018.
Jeffrey had been head of APAC for M&G for less than two years and was the first executive to fill that role for the UK firm, looking after its real estate division, as well as operations targetting other strategies.
Prior to assuming the top job in APAC for M&G, which is Prudential’s European asset manager, Jeffrey had been chief executive of M&G Real Estate, based in London.
Jeffrey already has 17 years of experience working and investing across Asia Pacific and previously based in Singapore from 2010 tp 2012 as chief investment officer for MGPA Limited, an Australian private equity firm since acquired by BlackRock.
A fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Jeffrey has also served in a variety of London-based real estate and finance roles with MGPA, Lend Lease, JP Morgan and HSBC, and holds both an MA(Hons) in Law from Cambridge University and an MBA from INSEAD.
Savills IM announced that with the selection of its new CEO, Kiran Patel will continue in his role as chief investment officer and will become deputy CEO once the Jeffrey comes on board later this year. Nick Cooper will continue in his role as chairman.