Mr O’Brien’s appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of founding QICGRE team member and long-term Managing Director Steve Leigh, announced in 2018.
Announcing the appointment, QIC Chief Executive Officer Damien Frawley said: “Following a thorough executive search as part of the planned leadership transition in Global Real Estate (GRE), I am pleased to announce Michael O’Brien as the new Managing Director of GRE. Michael has a distinguished, 30-year real estate career and an impressive record of accomplishment in shopping centre management and development, real estate funds management and finance. His leadership qualities and market acumen will ensure that our real estate platform continues to deliver strong investment returns, building on the outstanding track record of Steve Leigh and QICGRE.”
Mr O’Brien is currently Chief Financial Officer and former Chief Investment Officer of Vicinity Centres, Australia’s second largest listed manager of retail property, with responsibility for the investment strategy for an integrated asset management platform with some $26 billion in retail assets under management across 62 shopping centres.
Mr O’Brien has held senior investment and operational roles with Vicinity Centres, GPT Group and Lend Lease Corporation. While at Vicinity Centres, he has been responsible for the organisation’s finance, investment management and capital transactions, as well as its wholesale funds and strategic partnerships business. In his most recent role, he led the investment strategy for a retail portfolio with a significant pipeline of mixed-use development, similar to that of QICGRE.
Commenting on his appointment, Mr O’Brien said: “I am delighted to join QIC and assume responsibility for QIC’s global real estate platform. It will be a privilege to lead a world-class team of real estate specialists with significant operational and investment management expertise which has delivered strong investment returns for QIC’s clients. QIC’s heritage, track record, and well-deserved reputation among clients and counterparties, provides a strong foundation for future performance through both cyclical and systemic market changes.”
In this key leadership position at QICGRE, Mr O’Brien will report to QIC’s CEO Damien Frawley, serve on the QIC Executive Committee, and lead a team of more than 500 people globally managing 50 assets. QIC’s real estate portfolio is currently valued at approximately A$22.4 billion (US$15.7 billion) as at 31 December 2018 and is invested on behalf of institutional clients via cross pooled and segregated mandates.
David Asplin, QIC GRE Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed Acting Managing Director of QIC GRE during the leadership transition.