People Space: Senior appts. at First Capital, Timbercreek, Plaza, Forum …

Managing Editor
  • Nov. 16, 2020
IMAGE: Neil Downey has been named the executive vice president, enterprise strategies at First Capital REIT, and as chief financial officer of First Capital. (Courtesy RBC Capital Markets)

Neil Downey has been named executive vice-president, enterprise strategies at First Capital REIT, and as chief financial officer of First Capital. (Courtesy RBC Capital Markets)

First Capital REIT (FCR-UN-T) has hired Neil Downey as its executive vice-president, enterprise strategies and as chief financial officer of First Capital, effective in Q1 2021.

Downey is currently managing director and associate director of Canadian research for RBC Capital Markets, responsible for the firm’s coverage of the Canadian real estate sector. Having covered the sector for nearly 25 years at RBC, Downey brings a significant breadth of experience across property sectors in both listed and private real estate.

He has been recognized with numerous industry awards including the No. 1 ranking for Brendan Wood’s International “Top Gun” analyst award for the past 12 years. Downey also holds CFA and CPA, CA designations.

Over the next several months, Downey and Kay Brekken (First Capital’s current CFO, who intends to retire) will work on the transition.

“I am thrilled to have someone of Neil’s calibre join our executive team. His unique skill set, knowledge and experience complement our leadership group very well for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead,” said Adam Paul, president and CEO of First Capital, in the announcement.

New titles as Timbercreek restructures

Timbercreek Financial (TF-T) has appointed a familiar face as its chief executive officer and hired a new chief financial officer as a result of the reorganization of Timbercreek Asset Management announced last week.

Blair Tamblyn, CEO and co-founder of Timbercreek Asset Management and chair of Timbercreek Financial, has been appointed CEO, replacing Cameron Goodnough. Tamblyn, who was deeply involved in the formation of Timbercreek Financial and the Timbercreek lending platform, has been on the board of directors since inception in 2007 and previously served as CEO.

Timbercreek also announced Tracy Johnston, CPA, CA, has joined as CFO, replacing Gigi Wong. Johnston spent the past 15 years in senior finance roles, mainly in the real estate industry. Most recently, she was senior director, financial reporting for Cadillac Fairview, where she led the financial reporting to both private and public stakeholders for three entities.

Previously, she held senior finance positions for Dream Office REIT and Dream Industrial REIT and spent more than five years with Deloitte & Touche LLP.

The investment team continues to be led by Scott Rowland (chief investment officer), Julie Neault (head of global credit) and Geoff McTait (head of Canadian originations and global syndications).

Goodnough and Wong continue in leadership roles with the equity side of the reorganized Timbercreek.

Petrie leaves Plaza, Strange promoted

IMAGE: Kimberly Strange has been promoted to vice-president legal and secretary at Plaza Retail REIT. (Courtesy Plaza Retail REIT)

Kimberly Strange has been promoted to vice-president legal and secretary at Plaza Retail REIT. (Courtesy Plaza Retail REIT)

Plaza Retail REIT (PLZ-UN-T) has announced the resignation of James Petrie, its executive vice-president and chief operating officer. Petrie is joining NB Power as its chief legal officer.

Kimberly Strange, Plaza’s current secretary and corporate counsel, has been promoted to vice-president legal and secretary, and will assume Petrie’s legal role and responsibilities, while continuing to work closely with the board of trustees as secretary.

Petrie’s other executive duties will be assumed by Plaza’s existing executive team.

“Since she joined Plaza in 2007, Kim has played an important role in many of our significant transactions and initiatives and I am confident she will continue to do so in the future,” said Michael Zakuta, president & CEO of Plaza, in a release.

Viswanathan moves to Forum Equity

Private alternative investor Forum Equity Partners has brought in Rajeev Viswanathan as partner and chief financial officer.

Prior to joining Forum, he was the CFO of Dream Global REIT, a $6-billion office and industrial platform acquired in 2019 by Blackstone.

Prior to that, Viswanathan was CFO for Dream Office REIT.  At Dream Office, he was instrumental in transforming the REIT from a cross-Canadian to a Toronto-centric office portfolio, driving future value through development and intensification.

Before Dream, he spent almost a decade at Brookfield in senior finance roles, helping to establish Brookfield’s private funds group. While at Brookfield, Viswanathan also worked at General Growth Properties, a US$40 billion shopping mall REIT, where he rebuilt and upgraded various finance capabilities following GGP’s bankruptcy emergence.

He holds CFA and CPA, CA designations.

Viswanathan will work with Forum’s outgoing CFO Colin Yee during the transition.

Clarke heads infra services at SNC-Lavalin

SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. (SNC-T) appointed Dale Clarke as president of infrastructure services. Based in Toronto, Clarke will report to Ian L. Edwards, SNC’s president and CEO, and join the executive committee.

Clarke will oversee the infrastructure services division, including operation and maintenance; power, grid and industrial solutions; and construction and project management. He assumes an extensive pipeline of infrastructure projects in Canada, the United States and the U.K.

“Dale is a seasoned leader with strategic thinking capabilities, strong business acumen, industry knowledge and market vision,” Edwards said in the announcement. “Infrastructure services is a key element of the growth of our broader engineering services segment, which includes our infrastructure services, EDPM and nuclear businesses.”

With over 30 years of global experience in engineering and project management, Clarke has worked on projects throughout Canada, Africa and Latin America.

He joined SNC-Lavalin in 1996. During his 24-year tenure, he has held several senior and executive roles, including executive VP of Infrastructure Services.

Clarke holds a bachelor of science in mining engineering from Queen’s University and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s advanced management program. He is a member of the Professional Engineers of Ontario.

R&R shuffles board after resignation

R&R REIT (RRR-UN-X) announced the resignation of Derek Dermott from its board of trustees. Dermott had been a member of the board since its qualifying transaction in 2014. R&R is the owner of a portfolio of U.S. hotels.

Graham Blyth has been named lead independent trustee, filling the role previously held by Dermott. Irfan Lahka will take over for Dermott as chair of the REIT’s audit committee. Majid Mangalji is joining the REIT’s audit committee and governance, compensation and nominating committee to fill the vacancies left by Dermott.

New workplace group leader at Savills

Savills has promoted Rebecca Humphrey, the executive vice-president of MACRO (a Savills company), to workplace practice group leader for Savills North America.

In her expanded role, Humphrey will oversee the group across the U.S. and Canada. As part of these services, the Workplace Practice Group specializes in workplace analysis and strategy, wellness and sustainability programming, change and communications management, design and space planning, space utilization and optimization among other services.

Prior to joining MACRO, Humphrey was managing principal and CEO of Focal Point Project Management, a workplace and change management consultancy.



Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime,…

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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime,…

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