Himbury joined Stafford as a senior adviser in July 2021 and will step up to the new role on January, 1, 2022, following the retirement of the firm’s current chairman and co-founder Geoff Norman.
Norman will continue to serve as a non-executive director and as a member of the company’s investment committee, and will retain a significant shareholding in the business.
Himbury led Melbourne-headquartered infrastructure asset manager IFM Investors for more than a decade, retiring in December 2020. During this period, the firm’s funds under management grew from A$23.6 billion ($17.5 billion; €15.2 billion) in 2010, when Himbury joined as chief executive, to A$149 billion in August 2019.
Stafford chief executive Angus Whiteley said in a statement: “I would like to thank Geoff for the opportunity that he has created for us all – employees and investors alike – when co-founding Stafford. While he is retiring as chairman, he will continue to remain involved in the business, but this is an important step in the history of the company.
“Brett has a long and distinguished career in real assets and private equity investing that makes him the ideal candidate to lead our business through this next chapter in our development.”
Earlier this year, Stafford held a final close on its International Timber Fund IX at $695 million, making it the secondaries investor’s biggest timber vehicle.
That fund was launched at the end of 2019 and fundraising predominately took place during the pandemic, during which Stafford endured a seven- to eight-month stretch in 2020 when “a lot of LPs were just watching their portfolios before they made the decision to commit”, timberland managing partner Stephen Addicott told Agri Investor in August.
The firm’s timberland assets under management now totals $2.9 billion, out of more than $8.1 billion of total AUM.