CBRE appoints new head of infrastructure

The global real estate services giant has recruited Umer Ahmad from Barclays as its new head of infrastructure, focusing on financial advisory services. His appointment follows the firm’s recent hire of Sir Andrew Foster as a strategic advisor on infrastructure.

CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE), which describes itself as the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm (based on 2010 revenue), has appointed Umar Ahmad to the newly created role of head of infrastructure within the firm’s government and infrastructure team in London.

Ahmad brings ten years of experience in infrastructure and project finance to the role, having most recently been a director in the infrastructure & structured project finance team at Barclays, where he worked on infrastructure acquisitions and covered the transport, healthcare and defence sectors.

A statement from CBRE announcing the appointment said Ahmad had played a “pivotal role” in transport financing projects such as the Carlisle Northern Development Route public-private partnership (PPP), a project to improve transport links in the north of England and Scotland which reached a £176 million (€195 million; $282 million) financial close in July 2009.     

The same statement also pointed to a long list of deals that Ahmad worked on in the UK’s National Health Service Local Improvement Finance Trust (LIFT) market, the Buildings Schools for the Future market, and in the street lighting sector. Prior to Barclays, he had spells as an associate director at HBOS and within the M&A advisory team at Goldman Sachs.

In the statement, Sarah Whitney, managing director, government & infrastructure at CBRE, said: “Infrastructure projects are critical for economic growth and Umer’s extensive experience of creating innovative funding structures and harnessing public-private partnerships for some of the UK’s most high profile projects, will prove invaluable in ensuring that every pound of public sector investment is maximised.”

CBRE recently appointed Sir Andrew Foster as a strategic advisor to provide “expert counsel” on infrastructure. Foster, who is currently deputy chairman of the Royal Bank of Canada, was previously deputy chief executive of the UK’s National Health Service and chief executive of the Audit Commission, an independent watchdog designed to drive greater efficiency in the UK’s public services.

Los Angeles-based CBRE serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 300 offices globally offering a wide range of advisory services. CBRE Investors, the firm’s investment arm, has $37.9 billion in assets under management and is expanding further through the acquisition of ING Real Estate Investment Management.