Knight Frank appoints Campbell Aitken to their capital markets team

Experienced real estate professional, Campbell Aitken, has joined Knight Frank as Partner, Head of Retail Investments, in anticipation of improved market conditions.

The Announcement:

Knight Frank Australia has expanded its Capital Markets team with a new appointment as it prepares for stronger market conditions this year.

Campbell Aitken has joined Knight Frank in the role of Partner, Head of Retail Investments, and will be based in the real estate consultancy’s Sydney office.

Mr Aitken has more than 25 years’ experience in real estate, having most recently been in the role of Chief Investment Officer at the ASX-listed Region Group, with which Knight Frank have had a strategic partnership with since the middle of 2022 to deliver property services, facilities management and financial accounting across the group’s entire shopping centre portfolio.

In his most recent role at Region Group, Mr Aitken was responsible for the growth of its national retail portfolio to over 100 supermarket-based shopping centres. 

He originated, designed and successfully executed over 60 acquisitions and in excess of 30 disposals to see Region Group become the leading owner of this style of asset in the country.

Mr Aitken was part of Region Group from just after its establishment in 2013 and was Chief Operating Officer before being in the role of Chief Investment Officer.

Prior to his decade at Region Group, he led the retail business development division at Walker Corporation.

His previous roles include Fund Manager at Charter Hall and Senior Asset Manager at Macquarie Bank.

The appointment of Mr Aitken follows Knight Frank’s recent announcement of the expansion of its Capital Advisory team in Asia-Pacific, with the appointment of three senior personnel, including Ben Schubert as Head of Capital Advisory Australia, to provide its clients with comprehensive solutions across the region.

Knight Frank Chief Executive Officer James Patterson said he was thrilled to welcome Mr Aitken to Knight Frank as the company prepared for a solid year ahead in 2024.

“We believe the commercial property market will start to begin its recovery this year, and we are expanding our team to prepare for an increase in transactional activity,” Mr Patterson said.

Knight Frank National Head of Capital Markets, Justin Bond, said Mr Aitken would be a wonderful addition to the team, bringing extensive experience and knowledge of the industry to benefit our valued clients.

“Having worked in the industry for more than a quarter of a century, he also has strong relationships that can be leveraged to provide the best transactional solutions across our national capital markets platform,” Mr Bond said.

“Mr Aitken will work closely with Chris Maher to provide our valued clients with strategic advice and capital solutions across the Australian retail market.”

Knight Frank predicts conditions in Australia’s commercial property market will improve substantially this year, with a recovery on the horizon, particularly for Capital Markets.

One of the top seven predictions in Knight Frank’s recently released Australian Horizon 2024 report was that an improved vintage awaits investors this year, with 2024 being a better year to acquire assets.

Knight Frank’s most recent Australian Retail Review also found that post-COVID there was renewed customer participation in bricks and mortar retailing, and more investors were being drawn to the sector following a repositioning of assets by retail owners and some market repricing.

Mr Aitken said he was excited to be joining Knight Frank as the market looks forward to a busier year. 

“I’m excited to strengthen Knight Frank’s retail capability leveraging off the existing strong corporate brand and my personal experience built over 20 years in the Australian retail market,” Mr Aitken said.

“During this time I have covered a wide range of retail functions including leasing, asset management, operations, investments and divestments.

“I look forward to bringing my retail investment knowledge to Knight Frank to build upon the team’s capacity and better service clients.”

As a World Rugby Level 4 coach, Mr Aitken has also been the Head Coach for the NSW Waratahs Women’s team, of which Knight Frank is a Principal Partner.

NSW Waratahs Women’s captain and Wallaroos captain Piper Duck joined Knight Frank’s Asset Management Services (AMS) team in May 2023 in a part-time flexible role.

Source: Knight Frank

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