Centurion Properties has appointed Richard Cotton, one of the industry’s most highly-regarded players, as chairman to steer the group’s ambitious growth plans.

Cotton, who has been managing director of Forum Partners since June 2009, and was previously head of real estate at JP Morgan Cazenove, joined Centurion this week to work closely with founder and chief executive, Julian Rooth. He has also acquired a minority shareholding in Centurion. 

Cotton has 36 years of experience in the property investment business in the UK and Europe, and is also a non-executive director of two UK-listed property companies, Hansteen and Big Yellow Group. 

Centurion was founded in 2000 by Julian as a co-investing asset and development manager of UK real estate. The company has worked with leading institutional investors, such as Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (now Aberdeen Asset Management) and TIAA Henderson Real Estate, generating an ungeared net internal rate of return to investors over the 15-year period of more than 14%.

Centurion’s focus to date has been in the industrial sector, where, together with its financial partners, it has assembled a portfolio of around £300m of assets. The significant yield shift in this sector that has occurred in recent years has prompted the company to adapt its strategy and the company it is now looking to broaden its activities into other sectors, in addition to industrial. 

Rooth said: “I am absolutely delighted that Richard has decided to join the Centurion team. We are in the process of repositioning the company and Richard’s arrival is an important part of the implementation of this new strategy”.

Cotton said: “I know Julian well and I have a high regard for the platform he has built at Centurion and its impressive track record. I am looking forward to playing an active role in the next stage of its growth”.