Institutional landlord Hammerson has announced the appointment of Rita-Rose Gagné as its new chief executive, taking over from David Atkins.

Hammerson said Gagné is due to take up her new role “before the end of the year” and will join from real estate firm Ivanhoé Cambridge, which is based in Montreal, Canada. 

Rita-Rose Gagné

Rita-Rose Gagné

Gagné joined Ivanhoé Cambridge in 2006 and was most recently president of growth markets, responsible for managing a CA$7.6bn real estate asset portfolio across Asia Pacific and Latin America.

A qualified lawyer, Gagné has worked in property markets across the world, including the UK, France and Germany.

She will replace current chief executive David Atkins, who will remain with the company until Gagné takes up her new post. 

Hammerson chair Robert Noel said: “I am delighted that Rita-Rose will join Hammerson as our next CEO.  She has an excellent track record in international real estate investment, building high-quality teams, developing strategic partnerships, execution and delivering results. 

“On behalf of the board, and all colleagues in the business, I look forward to welcoming Rita-Rose to Hammerson and working with her when she joins.”

Gagné said: “The retail and real estate sectors are going through a period of unprecedented change which makes this a very exciting time to be joining the business. I look forward to working with Hammerson’s experienced team and all its stakeholders to both navigate through the challenges but also seek out the opportunities to create value moving forward.”

She is joining Hammerson at a time when the landlord is experiencing huge strategic upheaval. The landlord, which owns shopping centres such as the Bullring in Birmingham, announced changes in early August changes to its retail tenancy agreements going forward. 

These included phasing out upwards only rent-reviews; moving to performance-based rent payments and an overall rebasing of rents across its shopping centres. 

The move has come after the impacts of coronavirus and the shutdown of non-essential retailers earlier in the year exacerbated customers moving online and away from bricks-and-mortar retailers.