Cromwell bags the deal of 2021 with Former INVESTA boss Jonathan Callaghan

Cromwell bags the deal of 2021 with Former INVESTA boss Jonathan Callaghan

CROMWELL Property Group has bagged a cracking deal in its successful appointment of property and funds management veteran Jonathan Callaghan as its CEO, continuing the period of overhaul at the Brisbane-based real estate investor and fund manager.

Callaghan will begin in the role no later than the start of 2022. Mr Callaghan joins Cromwell following a distinguished and successful 14-year career at Investa Property Group, including as its CEO since 2016, where he was instrumental in stabilising and transforming its business. Mr Callaghan was responsible for the successful sale of Investa’s Office and Land Business which resulted in his appointment as CEO in 2016. Under his leadership, Investa managed one of Australia’s best performing wholesale office funds and Investa was awarded the AFR BOSS Best Places to Work in its sector

Mr Callaghan was recently a Director of the Property Council of Australia and is a founding member of the Property Male Champions of Change.

In a neat twist, Mr Callaghan’s tenure at the top of Investa coincided with a period of corporate activity as its listed office fund came under repeated assault. After an earlier tilt by Dexus failed in 2015, the Investa Office Fund was subsequently besieged by Cromwell itself two years later, then led by its co-founder Paul Weightman.

When that bid also ultimately fell flat a drawn-out battle for the office fund between heavyweights Blackstone and Oxford Properties Group ensued, with the Canadian ultimately succeeding. Mr Callaghan, a former lawyer, takes the helm at Cromwell after Mr Weightman walked the plank at the end of last year, to stave off further ructions with its hostile major investor, Singapore’s ARA Asset Management.

Mr Weightman’s fate was sealed when ARA effectively stormed the Cromwell boardroom last September, voting up its nominations, veteran director and renowned corporate raider Gary Weiss, and Joe Gersh, an investment banker and ABC board member. Dr Weiss has since taken over as chairman.

Cromwell Chair Dr Gary Weiss AM said: “After an exhaustive search, we are delighted to appoint such an outstanding and highly respected industry leader in Jonathan Callaghan as Cromwell’s CEO.”

“We are particularly pleased that Jonathan comes to Cromwell with a solid background in office property which makes up the vast majority of our Australian direct property portfolio and our $1 billion development pipeline.”

“Jonathan’s track record in creating value for investors at Investa was industry-leading. His strong property funds management experience, coupled with his proven ability to source and deploy capital, will be critical to Cromwell’s strategy of accelerating growth in its funds’ management businesses.”

Mr Callaghan will take control of a $2.3 billion company, which has a $3 billion direct property portfolio in the local market and total assets under management of $11.6 billion across Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Mr Callaghan said: “It is an honour to be joining Cromwell, a company with a strong heritage in the property and funds management industry. There is enormous potential at Cromwell and I look forward to working with Gary, the Board and the Cromwell team to unlock value across the company’s direct property investment portfolio and to grow Cromwell’s funds’ management businesses.”

The appointment of Mr Callaghan further strengthens Cromwell’s executive leadership capabilities including Michael Wilde and Brett Hinton, who stepped up as Acting CEO and Acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO) respectively and will resume their previous roles following Mr Callaghan’s commencement.

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