Crown Estate to name Lendlease’s Labbad as new chief exec | Business News

The company which manages the monarchy’s vast land holdings will this week name an Australian property industry veteran as its next chief executive.

Sky News has learnt that Dan Labbad, who runs Lendlease’s European operations, has been identified as the successor to Dame Alison Nimmo, who is due to step down at the end of the year.

His appointment, which requires a Royal Warrant, is understood to have been signed off by 10 Downing Street and the Treasury in the last few days.

It is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

Mr Labbad’s hiring will come after a nine-month search to fill one of the most prestigious jobs in the British real estate sector.

The Crown Estate’s £14bn portfolio, which includes swathes of London’s Regent Street and a fast-growing offshore wind turbine business, is managed on behalf of the Royal Family on a commercial basis.

Last year, the company reported a profit of £329m, with a quarter of that figure paid to the royal household as a sovereign grant to fund maintenance of royal palaces and residences.

The Crown Estate, which manages Windsor Great Park, does not have responsibility for the Queen’s private properties such as Balmoral Castle and Sandringham House.

With a history dating back to ‎1066 and the Norman Conquest, the Crown Estate is owned by the reigning Monarch for as long as they remain on the throne.

It is one of the UK’s biggest property groups, and has recently sought to capitalise on some of the sector’s most important growth trends by opening its first branded serviced offices.

Mr Labbad’s appointment will see him taking over from Dame Alison at the start of 2020.

He has run Lendlease Europe, which has worked on construction projects at London’s Tate Britain art gallery and the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, since 2009.

Including roles in Australia, where he led the expansion of Sydney Airport ahead of the Olympic Games hosted by the City in 2000, he has worked for the company for about 20 years.

‎Mr Labbad has also chaired the UK Green Building Council, which promotes sustainability in the built environment.

His arrival at the Crown Estate will come at a time when it is demonstrating resilience in the performance of its West End retail estate – although it will have been hit, like other landlords, by last week’s environmental protests by Extinction Rebellion activists.

Outside London, it part owns the Westgate shopping centre in Oxford and Rushden Lakes, a £140m leisure and retail complex in Northamptonshire.

Much of the Crown Estate’s growth is, though, being driven by its offshore wind portfolio, which a report by the company this month described as having “entered the Premier League”.

Announcing last year’s results, Dame Alison said its robust profit growth was a consequence of the company looking‎ “beyond short-term volatility to deliver long-term, sustainable outperformance”.

‎The Crown Estate is chaired by Robin Budenberg, a former City banker who went on to run UK Financial Investments, the agency set up to manage taxpayers’ stakes in bailed-out lenders after the 2008 financial crisis.

A spokeswoman for the Crown Estate declined to comment on Sunday.

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