CPI suffers further departure as sale drags on

Marco Ho, chief financial officer of Citi Property Investor in Asia, becomes the latest senior executive to leave the business as the sale by Citigroup continues to drag on.

Marco Ho, the chief financial officer of Citi Property Investors (CPI) in Asia, has left the company as the sale of the business drags on.

His office in Hong Kong confirmed he had resigned, but declined to give further details.

He is the latest senior executive to leave following that of Larry Ellman, head of North American investments, who departed earlier this month.

CPI, which manages more than $8 billion of real estate around the world, was put up for sale by parent Citi last summer, and a shortlist of bidders has been whittled down to two parties. A preferred replacement manager for the assets of CPI’s three funds – in Europe, Asia and North America – was due to have been chosen at the end of last month, with Australia’s Macquarie Group and New York’s Apollo Global Real Estate left in the running.

However, recent reports suggest the sale has been delayed amid investor concern about future ownership of the business. A report by Reuters last week suggested LPs fear large cuts in “man power”, with one unnamed source quoted as saying: “The investors are ill-at-ease because they are concerned about a meltdown in the team.”

PERE sources suggested the sale could be delayed for another two weeks. In order for a sale to progress, the LPs of each of the three funds as well as Citigroup, which is a significant co-investor, must agree who to sell to, if at all.

Ho, who previously worked for Macquarie Bank, was hired by former CPI Asia head David Schaefer. When Schaefer departed the platform last March, Ho began reporting to replacement head of Asia, Ravi Hansoty, and CPI’s chief financial officer, Michael Astarita.