Deutsche Annington searches for new CEO as Wijnand Donkers steps down

Deutsche Annington, Germany’s largest residential real estate company, has begun the search for a successor to departing chief executive officer Wijnand Donkers, who stepped down this morning after six years at the helm.

Robbie Barr, deputy chairman of Deutsche Annington’s supervisory board and parent company Terra Firma’s chief operating officer, joins the management board until a new chief executive is appointed.

The departure of Donkers comes approximately six months before Terra Firma’s planned IPO of Deutsche Annington next Spring, providing his successor with sufficient time to bed in before leading the company into a new listed era.

Terra Firma, the private equity firm which owns Deutsche Annington, said today it was “grateful to Wijnand Donkers for his contribution to the transformation of Deutsche Annington into Germany’s leading residential real estate company”.

Donkers has overseen significant progress in the refinancing challenge of Europe’s largest-ever securirtisation restructuring the outstanding €4.46bn in maturing debt through a combination of fresh equity, margin step-ups and an accelerated amortisation schedule through piecemeal refinancings over the coming five years.

“Under the restructuring, the global LTV is expected to decline to 59.7%, based on the updated 2012 valuation and the €504mn equity injection, whereas in 2006, the global LTV was 84.3%,” wrote March Nichol, research analyst on September 10 in a research note.

He continued: “At issuance, the bulk of the debt was scheduled to mature as a bullet with an exit LTV of 73.5%, whereas the proposed restructuring plans to amortise the remaining debt over the new 4.5 year term.

“Based on the potentially improved credit metrics and the fact that the main driver of the rating downgrades GRAND has experienced to date, namely the refinance risk, will have been largely addressed by the proposed restructuring, we see scope for the credit ratings on the GRAND notes to be upgraded if the restructuring is completed as expected.”

Deutsche Annington said Donkers felt the role he came to perform was now complete, following the material progress made on the refinancing of the GRAND CMBS, and that the time is right to pursue new challenges.

Klaus Freiberg, chief operating officer, and A. Stefan Kirsten, chief financial officer at Deutsche Annington both remain in their roles and on the management board.

Deutsche Annington’s interim successor, Robbie Barr, currently has overall responsibility for the operational management of Terra Firma’s portfolio businesses.

He sits on the boards of the general partners and is a member of Terra Firma’s management committee. Barr is also chairman of Odeon UCI and deputy chairman of Deutsche Annington.

Prior to joining Terra Firma in 2009, Barr held a number of senior positions at Vodafone Group, including the role of group financial controller, and was most recently regional CFO for Vodafone’s businesses outside Western Europe.

Donkers succeeded Georg Kulenkampff on 10 May 2007, joining Deutsche Annington after more than 20 years with BP Group, where he held senior executive positions in various business units in Europe and North America.

Deutsche Annington was formed in 2000, following the purchase of 64,000 railworker flats, the first major residential property privatisation in Germany, five years later the German residential company purchased Viterra.

About CoStar News

Finance Editor, CoStar News
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