Senior industry figures have paid tribute to Chris Darroch, the fund manager widely regarded as a visionary and pioneer in urban regeneration, who died suddenly last week aged 56.


Chris Darroch

As executive director of the BT Pension Scheme (BTPS) UK £4bn real estate portfolio at Federated Hermes, Darroch (pictured) was widely credited with being instrumental in the redevelopment of King’s Cross in London and an array of large-scale urban regeneration schemes, including Paradise in Birmingham, NOMA in Manchester, Wellington Place in Leeds and St Mary Le Port in Bristol.

Chris Taylor, chief executive of Federated Hermes Real Estate, said that as well as being an esteemed colleague and friend for the past 13 years, Darroch had left behind a ”rich legacy” in placemaking and sustainable, environmental, social and governance-led urban regeneration.

”Chris was an amazing person to work with. Both of us were emboldened by King’s Cross and the incredible success and lessons learned from that,” Taylor said. ”He very much took the opportunity to capitalise on that and the principles of what makes a successful place he was able to employ in other great cities.”

He added that Darroch had a particular talent for working in public-private sector partnerships on long-term projects.

“He was a terrific man and respected not just within the Federated Hermes family but also within the whole industry.”

David Partridge, chairman of Related Argent, who had worked “incredibly closely” with Darroch over the past 25 years on projects developed by BTPS/Hermes, added: “He has always been incredibly supportive of and contributed hugely to the places we have created together, especially so with regard to the people in our organisation who he believed in and personally backed.

“He has always been passionate about putting long-term, patient capital into city centres and that investment has borne fruit more recently in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.”

He continued: “He was determined and always a gentleman, and will be sadly missed as a colleague and as a friend.”

Roger Wade, the investor and entrepreneur who founded Boxpark, described Darroch as “an absolute gentleman and a lovely guy”, adding: ”I was a small player in the property world, but he always treated me well and was receptive to new ideas. He was a keen golfer, a proud Scot and a dedicated family man.”

Peter Darroch, Chris’s brother and founder-director of Scotland-based chartered surveyor CDLH, said: “We are all devastated. Chris was a truly special person. Not only was he highly successful in his career, but he was a fantastic husband and dad.

“He will be greatly missed by us all, but we are very fortunate to have known him and will focus on happy memories of him smiling and laughing and his empathic and caring personality.”

Chris Darroch joined Federated Hermes in 2009 from Aberdeen Asset Management, where he was a director of fund management, responsible for the management of more than £1.2bn on behalf of pension fund clients. He began his career at Richard Ellis (now CBRE), then in 1994 he joined Scottish Amicable Investment Managers (now part of abrdn).

He had a BSc in land economics from Paisley University and was a member of RICS and the Investment Property Forum. He was a member of the Federated Hermes investment executive and held seats on numerous boards including MEPC, Argent and the various boards that oversee the large assets and joint ventures within the BTPS portfolio.

Darroch is survived by his wife Marie Claire and four daughters.