LaSalle Investment Management promotes Andy Watson to new role as CIO for Continental Europe

LaSalle Investment Management has promoted Andy Watson to the newly-created role of Chief Investment Officer for Continental Europe as the firm continues its expansion in the region.

 Watson, who is currently Managing Director for Continental Europe, will focus on investment performance for the firm in the region, and be responsible for investment strategy, underwriting, investment decision-making and new product development.  In addition, he will manage the portfolio management teams across the continent.  Watson will also chair the Continental Investment Committee.  
LaSalle has also created the new roles of country heads for Germany and France to help build the firm’s business in Europe. Claus Thomas will become Country Head for Germany, having previously been responsible for capital raising in German speaking countries, Italy and Spain, while Karim Habra, who previously managed the firm’s central and eastern European platform, will become Country Head for France. 
Watson will retain responsibility for all of LaSalle’s other country platforms across continental Europe - in central and eastern Europe, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and the Nordic nations. All three report to Simon Marrison, LaSalle Investment Management’s European Chief Executive. 
Marrison says: “I am delighted with the appointments of Andy, Claus and Karim. LaSalle Investment Management has seen strong growth in Europe in recent years, as investors increasingly see well-managed real estate as a central part of their portfolio. This change to our organizational structure on the Continent will enable us to better serve our existing and future investor clients, improve our focus on growth in our major markets and give us greater consistency of execution across all the countries we work in.” 
Thomas and Habra will manage the existing operations in France and Germany, growing and building the local business both by focusing on domestic clients and by attracting international capital.   
Thomas has worked for LaSalle or its parent, Jones Lang LaSalle, since 1991. Most recently, he was a Client Executive in the Client Capital Group responsible for all clients in German speaking countries, as well as Italy and Spain.   
Since joining in 2012, Habra has managed the firm’s central European platform based in Prague.  He was educated in France, and will be moving back to Paris, joining the European Management Board. 
There are two other changes to the continental European team. David Ironside, who was previously responsible for the Continental European Acquisitions teams will now be responsible for large-scale investments on a continent-wide basis as well as working closely with German investors investing internationally. Meanwhile Chris Zeuner will replace Habra to become head of LaSalle’s central and eastern European business.