Bartram to leave Haslemere

Chris Bartram, is set to leave his role as Chief Executive of Haslemere NV after eight years at the firm. He will be replaced by the current Executive Director, Richard Debney.

Haslemere has undergone extensive changes under Bartram’s tenure, which commenced in 1985. Last year, a consortium that included Merrill Lynch, Apollo Real Estate, Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners and Beny Steinmetz’s Five Mounts Investments, and led by Israeli group, Brack Capital, acquired an 84.4% stake in the property company.

The consortium paid £ 758 mln. for the controlling stake in the company and initiated a new business plan in conjunction with Haslemere management.

A spokesman for Haslemere has denied that Bartram’s departure is associated with disagreements with the company’s controlling stockholders, saying: “Chris has taken Haslemere to a point where it is ready to embark on the next phase of its strategy. He feels the company is now in safe hands and he has enjoyed an extremely good relationship with the new owners.”

In its 2002 year-end results published in February, Haslemere announced the next phase of its business plan, a move towards creating co-investment partnerships under the name Haslemere Partners.

The first of these partnerships was launched last month. A £ 230 mln. joint venture with GE Real Estate was set up to take ownership of Haslemere’s main shopping centres: The Mercat in Kircaldy, Middleton Grange in Hartlepool, Crossgates in Leeds, the Four Seasons in Mansfield and the St Nicholas in Sutton.

Haslemere’s new strategy follows the sale of almost £ 800 mln. worth of assets. Haslemere has sold almost all of its larger holdings.

Bartram stated this week that he was taking a “flexible approach” to his future.

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