Faced with a 76 percent drop in pre-tax earnings last year, Patrizia founder Wolfgang Egger has brought in some outside expertise with the German fund manager announcing this week that it has hired former DWS CEO Asoka Wöhrmann as chief executive officer-elect.
Wöhrmann, who left DWS last year in the wake of a “greenwashing” scandal involving allegations of overstated ESG achievements, joined Patrizia on Monday and will be taking over the chief executive role currently shared by Egger and co-CEO Thomas Wells after what the company described in a statement as a short transition period.
The 57-year-old investment management veteran is expected to “lead the next growth phase” for Patrizia, and will be supported by former Corsair Capital executive Slava Shafir who will join the firm in the newly created position of chief operating officer from 1 June.
“Both leaders complement our existing leadership team to successfully manage our next growth phase as a leading global real assets player,” Egger said in a statement. “This in turn will allow me to concentrate on strategic client relations and the strategic development of the company also in my role as a member of the board of directors in the future.”
After four years leading the asset management arm of Deutsche Bank, where he oversaw €800 billion ($883 million) in assets under management, Wöhrmann is now tasked with developing and expanding Patrizia’s global real assets platform, which currently has €59 billion in AUM.
Egger, who will continue to serve as chairman of Patrizia will be supporting the CEO-elect during the transition period.
The Patrizia founder pointed out that Wöhrmann brings international leadership experience, expertise in financial markets and deep knowledge of the asset management industry to his new role, as well as a broad network of international clients.
“He shares our values, entrepreneurial spirit, and long-term vision along with principles of inclusivity, openness, and strong collaboration. I am very happy and convinced that he is ideally suited to lead the company as new CEO,” he said.
Wöhrmann left DWS in June last year, with his departure announced just hours after German police raided the company’s offices, along with those of Deutsche Bank, and seized records as part of an investigation of alleged faked ESG credentials.
Before ascending to the CEO role in 2018, Wöhrmann had headed Deutsche Bank’s private client business for three years after initially joining the lending giant in 1998.
Shafir, who will oversee operations of Patrizia’s international product portfolio while leading development of business operations, IT and fund services has spent two decades building experience in banking, operations and technology, including serving as an operating partner at New York-based Corsair Capital. Earlier, Shafir held executive roles at brokerage firm Barclays Capital and Barclays Venture Capital.
Continuing APAC Momentum
Patrizia is overhauling its leadership after its earnings before taxes fell to just €20.8 million last year from nearly €88 million in 2021, with the company attributing the shift in fortunes to “market headwinds and reorganisation,” in its latest financial results.
The firm’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for 2022 totalled €79 million, which was down 39 percent from a year earlier.
While Wels is stepping down from his role as co-CEO, he will continue to advise the company on its Asia Pacific business, with Egger crediting him with having played a key role in establishing the company’s presence in the region.
During last year Patrizia set up a second APAC hub in Singapore as well as launching a €1 billion Japan-focused fund last November with the goal of building a portfolio of core and value-add multi-family assets in the country.
In January, the firm announced a $110-million first closing for its flagship APAC sustainable infrastructure fund with Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co, with the company’s infrastructure head for Australia and Asia, Saji Anantakrishnan, telling Mingtiandi in an interview that the company plans to launch subsequent vehicles in the series to plug what it sees as an infrastructure funding gap in the region.