REAL ESTATE - Henderson Global Investors has appointed Richard Weberberger to head its Austrian real estate team.

Weberberger joins from Multi-ImmoEast Asset Management, where, as managing director, he launched an institutional Central and Eastern European (CEE) retail real estate fund with committed capital of €100m and a target size of €500m.

His appointment follows six months with no one in the role after the previous head, Michael Novak, left last November.

Henderson cited Weberberger’s experience in office, retail and industrial real estate, and his strength in both direct and indirect real estate, as reasons for the hire.

He will initially head a three-person team, though a spokeswoman for the firm indicated that it would “potentially grow in line with increased business activity in the region”.

Weberberger’s beefed-up role reflects Vienna’s emergence as a hub for real estate investments in Central and Eastern Europe.

Tim Horrocks, Henderson’s director of property portfolio management for Europe, said in a statement: “It is our intention not only to strengthen our position in Austria but also to use Vienna as a gateway for future business in Central and Eastern Europe.”

The CEE emphasis will be primarily on retail. The firm also acts as adviser to an existing Austrian product with funds still to commit to the market.

“Over time, Henderson will be active in all relevant asset classes in the region, as in other parts of Europe,” said the spokeswoman.

Henderson entered the Austrian market in 2002 in a joint venture with local insurance firm Wiener Städtische. It has assets under management of €300m in the country.