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Pro-invest Group appoints Jan Smits as Co-CEO

February 9, 2021 Appointments / Movers & Shakers No Comments Email Email

Pro-invest Group, a global investment firm specialising in private equity real estate and real estate asset management, today announced the appointment of Jan Smitsto the role of co-CEO for its Australasian business. He shares the CEO role with Ronald Barrott, the CEO and Chair of Pro-invest Group. Ronald founded the Group ten years ago, following a long and successful career in real estate investment, development and project management, together with Dr Sabine Schaffer who holds extensive experience in Private Equity, Funds- and Asset Management.

Jan joined Pro-invest as a Non-Executive Director in January 2019 and was appointed the Group Deputy Chair in June 2020. Jan will remain Deputy Chair while increasing his involvement in the day-to-day management of Pro-invest’s business across its active asset management, development and operations verticals.

The move to a joint CEO model is in part accelerated by the pandemic, to ensure consistent and complementary leadership coverage and the ability to respond quickly to rapidly-changing conditions. It is also a strategic decision to have strengthened CEO oversight to support Pro-invest’s growthacross geographies, given the Group’s ambition to look beyond Australasia. Pro-invest Group already has presence in Australasia, Middle East and Europe and will look to expand in other geographical locations in the near future.

Jan is a hospitality industry veteran with close to 40 years’ experience across senior management roles in global hotel companies. Jan was most recently the CEO of IHG, a FTSE 100 organisation and of the world’s largest hotel companies. He led the Asia, Middle East & Africa region, IHG’s most geographically diverse business unit at that time comprising 300 hotels and resorts operating in 47 countries under six internationally renowned brands. During his tenure, Jan led a 60,000-strong workforce, launched several new brands and created new business models to grow the region into a US$4 billion dollar business.

“Jan has been part of the Pro-invest journey since we first partnered with IHG to launch the Holiday Inn Express portfolio as part of our debut hospitality-focused fund in 2013. Since then, first as a Non-Executive Director and then more recently as the Deputy Chair, Jan has added significant value in maximising the performance of our funds and their assets, which he will continue to do in his new role. His extensive experience will also be a steadying force for the Pro-invest hotels business during this challenging time, and I’m confident this leadership uplift will benefit us significantly as we continue to explore opportunities in other geographies,” Ronald remarked.

“Pro-invest is a remarkable growth story. Ever since the opening of the Sydney office in 2013, Ron and the founding partners have built the firm into one of Australasia’s largest hospitality investment platforms and a fully-integrated business combining asset management, development and operations. They are also one of the earliest proponents of ESG and sustainability in the hospitality industry in Australia. I am delighted to take on a more active leadership role and see my appointment as an opportunity to accelerate Pro-invest’s growth in Australasia and beyond,” said Jan.

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