Paul Weightman has announced his retirement as managing director and CEO of Cromwell Property Group after 22 years with the company he co-founded.

Weightman, a lawyer by training, was a key force in turning what was a small Australian retail syndicator into a global real estate investment manager with assets under management of A$11.5bn (€7.02bn) in 14 countries, mostly in Europe.

In 2018, Singapore-based ARA Asset Management acquired a stake in the company.

Weightman, who will retire at the end of the year, said: “Over the last 22 years, I have always sought to stay true to our purpose, that we are here to look after people.

“This commitment has been tested as much this year by COVID-19 as it was back in 1998 when we saw an opportunity to start-up a real estate business that put people first. 

“I’m proud that Cromwell has come through the pandemic and is continuing to operate successfully, particularly with the majority of its people working from home for most of the year.”

As at 30 September 2020, Cromwell had more than A$610m in cash and available undrawn facilities with no material debt maturing until 2023.

“The balance sheet is strong, and all covenants have ample headroom,” Weightman said. “We are very well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves in calendar 2021.”

Weightman has been executive chair or CEO of Cromwell since 1998, and succession planning has been a regular item on the Cromwell Board’s agenda for some time, according to the company.

Cromwell’s CFO Michael Wilde has been appointed acting CEO, effective 1 January 2021.

The company said an “extensive and thorough” global search for a successor to Weightman was now under way.