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BlackRock hires new infra strategy head

The asset manager has hired Abengoa’s former CEO for a role that will also involve leading its Latin American unit.

Manuel Sánchez Ortega, who has held a number of positions at Spanish infrastructure and engineering firm Abengoa, has joined BlackRock’s Infrastructure Investment Group as managing director and head of strategic development, according to an internal memo the New York-based asset manager shared with Infrastructure Investor.

In this newly-created position, which also includes assuming the role of head of Latin America Infrastructure, Ortega will be based in New York and will report to Jim Barry, global head of BlackRock Infrastructure.

As head of Latin America Infrastructure, Ortega will be responsible for managing the Mexico Infrastructure business, including the acquisition and integration of Infraestructura Institucional, a Mexico-City based infrastructure investment firm the asset manager said it was acquiring last month

The acquisition, which is expected to close before or during the fourth quarter, will add approximately 25 employees to BlackRock’s Mexico staff and $1 billion in assets under management. Juan Alberto Leautaud, a principal of Infraestructura Institucional, will serve as head of Mexico Infrastructure and will report to Ortega.

Ortega will also work with the broader BlackRock team to implement the strategy and plans for further expansion in Latin America.

Having initially joined Abengoa in 1989 as project manager, Ortega steadily advanced within the organisation to eventually become chief executive in 2010.

BlackRock has followed its initial investment in Mexican infrastructure, when it joined forces with energy-focused private equity firm First Reserve in March to invest $900 million in Mexican pipelines, with strategic moves that underscore its interest in the Latin American market.

In addition to investing in infrastructure, a portfolio which as of March 31 was valued at more than $6 billion, BlackRock invests across a range of other asset classes, such as separate accounts, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other pooled investment vehicles. As of March 31, BlackRock’s total assets under management stood at $4.8 trillion.