Real estate developer Grosvenor is changing the guard at its Asia operations as Nicholas Loup, CEO for Asia-Pacific at the London-based company is preparing to leave after 25 years with the group. Replacing Loup in the privately held company’s Hong Kong headquarters will be Benjamin Cha of UBS Global Asset Management.
Grosvenor, which is owned by and operated on behalf of its owners, The Duke of Westminster and his family, announced the change in leadership in a statement today, saying that Loup will be handing over his duties as Managing Director for Asia Pacific to Cha on September 29th. Cha will take up the role of Chief Executive, Grosvenor Asia Pacific, on 31 March 2015, when Loup takes his leave from the company.
In a comment on his departure Loup noted, “We have achieved our goal of operating as a local property company in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, and are in the fortunate position of working with first-class partners. In Asia, Grosvenor is well placed to grow its activities through Grosvenor- branded residential developments and commercial developments for medium or long-term ownership,”
Grosvenor Veteran Leaving After 25 Years
Loup is leaving after 20 years of leading the company in the Asia Pacific region, and another five years of working with Grosvenor in London. In the statement, Loup was said to be joining the board of a UK property company with interests in Europe and aspirations in Asia.
Grosvenor’s Asia business was established in Hong Kong in 1994, and during Loup’s tenure it has since expanded to Tokyo and Shanghai. Grosvenor Asia Pacific has grown a diversified portfolio of core investments in the region while building a programme of award-winning luxury residential developments in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo carrying Grosvenor and related names – such as Grosvenor, Westminster and Belgravia.
Grosvenor’s Chief Executive,Mark Preston said of the handover in management of the developer’s Asia Pacific operations, “I am enormously grateful to Nick Loup for his leadership and commitment over the past two decades, which have been critical to our success in Asia. I am delighted that in Ben Cha we have appointed such an excellent successor and I look forward to working with him. We will remain fully committed to the Asia Pacific region. By leveraging on our past achievements and the strong partnerships we have forged throughout the region, we are in a solid position to continue to expand our Asian presence.”
Cha Joins From Discovery Bay Developer
Before accepting this new responsibility with Grosvenor, Cha had served for one year with UBS Global Asset Management as Managing Director, Head of Global Real Estate Greater China, where he was responsible for the company’s joint venture with Beijing-based developer Gemdale.
Prior to UBS, Cha served in a variety of positions over eleven years with HKR International Limited, the Hong Kong-based developer chaired by his father, Cha Mou Sing. HKR is best known for its development of Discovery Bay on Lantau Island, and Cha most recently served there as an Executive Director and Head of its Asia Pacific Business Unit.
The Stanford MBA began his career with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group after graduating from Middlebury College in the US. In preparation for his new duties, Cha will spend half of a six month handover period in London and half in Asia, where he will be based in Hong Kong.
Grosvenor has recently closed a co-investment partnership vehicle with two private partners to invest in luxury residential value-add and development opportunities in central Tokyo, as well as in Grade B office projects in the same area. The partnership has set a timeframe of 18 months for this new initiative.￼
The Board of Grosvenor Asia Pacific is chaired by Keith Kerr. Non-Executive Directors are Kensuke Hotta, Michael Lee, Norman Lyle and, from Grosvenor Group Limited, Mark Preston, Group CEO, and Nick Scarles, Group FD. Executive Directors are Nicholas Loup; Koshiro Hiroi, Managing Director Development (Asia Pacific), and Chief Representative Japan; Yu Yang, Managing Director Investment (Greater China); and Ian Mair, Regional Finance Director.
The company has offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, and a staff of 53 professionals in the region.