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M7’s Croft Steps Down as Executive Chairman

Founder will stay on as senior adviser to Oxford-owned manager

By David Hatcher 

React News

28 Feb 2023 – 08:21 GMT

Richard Croft is stepping down from his role as executive chairman, React News can reveal.

David Ebbrell, M7’s chief executive who was a co-founder of the business, will now take on full responsibility for the management of the company following a three-month handover period to ensure a seamless transition. Croft will subsequently continue as a senior adviser to M7 and will remain on the board of all M7 discretionary funds that manage external capital.

The renowned industry figure has decided to make the move to create a new platform that will focus on strategies that do not overlap with M7. Croft’s new company is expected to invest in dislocated aspects of the market including debt and coworking, as well as on IPSX, the specialist real estate stock exchange.

“We want to place on record our thanks and gratitude to Richard for what he has achieved at M7,’’ said Jo McNamara of Oxford Properties. “He is one of the finest entrepreneurs we have come across and has built not only a market-leading business, but also a market-leading team around him at M7”

M7 will focus primarily on all areas of the supply chain and warehousing, including retail warehousing, as well as continuing to deploy capital into the office sector. The fund manager will now place “an increased focus on targeting institutional capital”, continuing to raise third-party funds.

Croft’s transition comes two years after M7 was bought by Oxford Properties, during which time the company’s assets under management have grown by circa 75%, from around €4bn to €7bn.

The change is a result of “long-term planning and the success of the working relationship between the two businesses”. Ebbrell has been in post since 2019 to facilitate the envisaged succession. Also continuing to make up the M7 leadership team are co-founders Teresa Dyer, Hugh Fraser, Jack Thoms and Tom Pearman, as well as David Simmonds.

Croft said: “Having dedicated 14 years of my life to working with a fantastic team of people and helping M7 grow to what it is today, I feel it is time for me to step back from day-to-day executive responsibility and hand the reins over to David.

“From what started as a group of friends with an idea, we have built a market-leading investment and asset management business and become part of a world-class global real estate investment group and I would like to thank everyone who I have worked with who has made that possible.

“The sale to Oxford Properties was a game changer for M7, giving us the support and resources of one of the world’s most respected real estate investors, enabling us to grow our assets to almost €7bn today, and I would like to thank Jo and her entire team for their continued support.

“As well as being a friend, David is a consummate professional who has led the day-to-day management of the business since becoming CEO at the time of our merger. As I move into an advisory capacity, he is the natural choice to take over the full running of the business and I take great comfort in knowing that the next phase of M7’s growth is in very safe hands. I am very excited about the next chapter of my career, but I intend to always be on hand to continue to support M7, where appropriate.”

M7 in “the best shape it has ever been”

Ebbrell added: “Having worked with Richard for almost 20 years and having started M7 together, I am obviously very sorry to see him step down from the management and full-time involvement with the business. He has been a remarkable friend, business partner and leader of the business, whose vision, ambition and innovative thinking has been a critical part of the success of M7.

“M7 is in the best shape it has ever been, with a strong, talented team located in 15 countries across Europe, and part of a well-funded and highly respected global real estate investor in Oxford Properties. I am enormously grateful to be trusted with picking up the reins from him and am excited to help lead M7 through the next stage of its evolution and growth, while maintaining our overriding goal of delivering the best possible outcome and service for our clients.”

Jo McNamara, executive vice president, Europe at Oxford Properties, said: “Firstly, we want to place on record our thanks and gratitude to Richard for what he has achieved at M7. He is one of the finest entrepreneurs we have come across and has built not only a market-leading business, but also a market-leading team around him at M7.

“The relationship between the Oxford and M7 teams has grown from strength to strength over the past two years. Having seen David Ebbrell lead the business as CEO since the acquisition, we know the qualities he brings as a leader. We are confident he will continue M7’s upwards trajectory as a partner of choice for institutional investors.”

To read the original React News story please click here.