Investment funds falling over to recruit top executives in Spain

Spain is back on international investor radar screens. Foreign investment funds increasing interest in entering the Spanish property and capital markets is having a positive effect on the executive employment market, giving rise to a wave of executive signings. After several years of monitoring from London or New York, investment companies have decided to form local teams or hire consultants to carry out their plans for Spain.

Some large investment funds have preferred to wait until they had acquired some investments before hiring a team. This was the case with the U.S. fund, Anchorage, which waited until it had acquired real estate assets from EuroHypo (Operation Copernicus) and shares in Codere and La Seda, apart from looking at other transactions such as El Arbol and Supersol supermarket portfolios. After this period they signed up Juan José Nieto as representative for Spain. Nieto is a past chairman of Service Point, a quoted Spanish company, and also of Vía Digital and Antena 3 TV, both previously owned by Telefonica.

Other funds have preferred the figure of senior advisor to take the market pulse before making their first investment. This path was the one adopted ​by U.S. firm, Searchlight, founded by former directors of Apollo. Searchlight has appointed Gonzalo Díaz-Ratobeen as its top Spanish executive. Díaz-Ratobeen is a veteran of Spanish venture capital companies and has passed through Gala and Suala Capital, both Spanish investment managers.

Firms such as Oaktree, Cerberus and Brookfield have all been busy recruiting due to their interest in the Spanish economy and investing in companies such as Panrico, BankiaHabitat and Abertis. These funds have hired veterans from the Ibex 35 in the role of senior advisors, namely Juan Arena (formerly at Bankinter), Juan Hoyos (formerly at McKinsey) and Rafael Miranda (former CEO of Endesa).

For more operational roles, the contracted financial and management executive profile is of a lower age range (35/45). Some recent signings include Fortress (Chema Cava), Varde (Hector Serrat), Goldman Sachs (José Antonio Urquizu), Apollo (Enrique Ibáñez) and HIG (John Barnet), who have turned to professionals from other funds in the same industry (Gladia, Patron, Portobello, BBVA and Riverside) which are now less operational.

This wave of signings is maintaining the momentum initiated by the first investment funds which set up operational structures in Spain in early 2013, such as Blackstone (Iñaki Echave) and KKR (Jesus Olmos). Now, in 2014, other well known international venture capital partners such as BC Partners and Cinven are addressing their physical prescence in Spain. Investor appetite has always been around, but the gap between buyers and sellers pricing aspirations is increasingly narrowing which is why international investors are committing more and more resources to Spain.

For transactions information about the Spanish commercial real estate investment market and Madrid and Barcelona office rental markets contact: i-comparables.com

17 Responses to “Investment funds falling over to recruit top executives in Spain”

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