REAL ESTATE - Real estate fund manager Invista has appointed former banker Guy Eastaugh as financial director as part of a plan to separate financial and operational functions.

Current chief financial officer (CFO) Philip Gadsden will occupy the new role of deputy CEO.

"It isn’t a restructuring so much as a reflection of the fact that we’ve grown rapidly and have more need for a separate finance director," said investor relations manager Paul Murphy.

He added that the appointment would allow CEO Duncan Owen and Gadsden to focus on business development. "It’s freeing up time for them to concentrate on the business," he said.

Eastaugh joins from manufacturer GKN.

The firm, which listed on AIM last September, announced last week that it had acquired a 34-property portfolio in France for €348m from an undisclosed seller. The acquisition, via a 50-50 joint venture with Propinvest, comprises 38% office, 33% mixed-use, 25% industrial and 4% retail.

The portfolio is located across France, with around 50% concentrated in the Ile-de-France region around Paris.

Invista said it has identified France as a "key investment area".