Real estate loan servicer and debt adviser Situs has appointed a new chief executive officer to lead its European business as it aims to expand its operations in the region.
The Houston-headquartered firm has hired Christian Bearman from Valad Europe to be the London-based CEO of Situs Europe. Bearman is set to join the company on 1 February 2017 and will be a member of Situs Group’s executive management team.
The European CEO position is a newly created role within Situs, which has been expanding its operations in the region since it was bought by US private equity firm Stone Point Capital in January 2015.
European operations were previously overseen by Bruce Nelson, the firm’s long-standing president of Europe. Nelson retired in September after almost 16 years with the company.
Bearman will be responsible for growing the European business, which has €40 billion of assets under management. He will report to group president Nick Rudenstine.
“Our strategy will be to continue to build a best-in-class team, actively grow our business across Europe leveraging the strength of Situs’s global client base, and target attractive complimentary acquisitions to expand the business into new markets and products,” said Bearman.
Most recently, Bearman was head of corporate development and operations at Valad Europe. He played a lead role in the executive management team that completed a management buyout of the company with the backing of Blackstone in 2011 and subsequently grew the business before it was sold to Australian REIT Cromwell.
Prior roles included director of transactions for real estate joint ventures at Lloyds Banking Group from 2009 to 2010, where he restructured the division following the acquisition of HBOS. Before that, he was a director for fund manager Pacific Investments where he raised a £500 million UK Real Estate Recovery Fund. Bearman began his career in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs.
“Christian brings extensive experience in building businesses and scaling operations, and has a unique understanding of how the European market is evolving,” said Rudenstine.
“The European market is in a state of transition and with transition comes opportunity,” added Bearman. “I believe Situs is well positioned for strong growth through both new business success and targeted corporate acquisitions.”
In September 2016, Real Estate Capital revealed that Situs is setting up a valuation appraisal business in Europe, hiring Taco Brink of Altus Group to set up the European operation, which will be badged under the ‘Situs RERC’ brand.
Situs RERC is a national real estate valuation adviser in the US and Brink will report to Ken Riggs who leads the 80-year-old business. In the US, Situs RERC values for lending institutions as well as investors, developers and government agencies.
Situs is currently in talks to buy European loan servicing and debt advisory rival Hatfield Philips from Starwood. There has been speculation that Starwood boss Barry Sternlicht would sell the European business since Starwood acquired Hatfield as part of its purchase of US-based LNR in 2013.