Australian Vicinity picks Peter Huddle for COO

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Australia retail landlord Vicinity Centres has appointed former Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield executive Peter Huddle to the newly created role of COO.

Huddle will start in the new executive committee position in April this year following an international search, the company said in a statement.

He was the COO of URW in the US following Unibail Rodamco’s acquisition of Westfield in 2018.

Prior to the merger, he was senior executive vice president, USA, and co-country head at Westfield.

In the new role, Huddle will report to CEO and managing director Grant Kelley and oversee leasing, shopping centre management, operations and marketing for the business.

“His appointment forms part of the new executive committee structure we announced in December, to accelerate our strategy to create a core portfolio of market-leading destinations, realise mixed-use opportunities and expand our wholesale funds platform,” Kelley said.

“His deep international experience in asset management coupled with his strategic vision in creating market-leading destinations in the Americas, means he is uniquely qualified to lead and develop our core operations strategy in Australia.

“The new role of the COO in our leadership team will sharpen Vicinity’s focus on integrating and streamlining operations, continue to strengthen our approach to intensive asset management and enhance experience-led retailing across the portfolio.”

Huddle first joined Westfield in Australia in 2000 before stints in Brazil and the US.

Vicinity is listed on the Australian stock exchange and has A$26bn of assets under management.

It has a direct portfolio with interests in 62 shopping centres and manages 33 assets on behalf of strategic partners.