Legal & General appoints Head of Retail as it continues to strengthen platform

LGIM Real Assets (Legal & General) announces that it has promoted Simon Russian to Head of Retail as it continues to strengthen its retail platform to positively respond to the ever-changing retail market.

Legal & General has committed almost £400m this year alone into improving and evolving its retail destinations for its consumers.

Simon’s new role forms an important part of Legal & General’s strategy to ensure that it continues to challenge retail market conventions and adopt a fresh approach to managing its portfolio so that it meets current and future shopper’s requirements. He will be supported by an established team of 30 retail specialists.

Legal & General recognises the importance of reimagining and rebuilding the urban environment in its entirety and has invested £12bn into UK direct investments and urban regeneration projects to date, with a commitment to invest £15bn.

Reporting to Michael Barrie, Head of Fund Management, Simon has more than 20 years of retail experience. He will lead the retail team and be responsible for taking a strategic and holistic view on all Legal & General’s retail assets to identify areas for change and innovation, ensuring that it creates long-lasting schemes that improve the urban environment.

Michael Barrie, Head of Fund Management at LGIM Real Assets, said: “The continued evolution of the retail environment is an opportunity to positively differentiate us from our competitors. The impact of e-commerce and changes to the logistics sector has meant that the UK has undergone a seismic shift that retail has had to respond to. We are committed to working closely with occupiers to embrace these changes so that we create retail assets that are suitable not just for today but for 20 years’ time. Our long term approach means that we are working creatively and applying important new technologies in order to future-proof our assets.  Simon and his team have a unique opportunity to reimagine and embrace the future of retail and to create transformational new retail destinations where people will want to shop.”

Simon was most recently in charge of delivering The Lexicon Bracknell, the £240 million retail and leisure town centre destination in Berkshire. Now at almost 95% occupancy, the transformed town centre opened in September this year, with Bracknell’s footfall more than quadrupling since launch.   The vast majority of its occupiers have reported that they have significantly exceeded sales target, with some saying their store was their best performing nationally.

Simon Russian, Head of Retail, LGIM Real Assets, added: “Creating and improving a retail destination is more than just carrying out a refresh. In my new role I will take a strategic view on how our retail schemes fit within a wider community so that we are regenerating areas in a holistic and joined up way. Deeper occupier engagement and a hands-on approach are also key to helping us understand what the discerning consumer wants. At Bracknell, researching the detail of all of these factors and engaging with our occupiers from the beginning was paramount to creating a long-lasting retail destination.”

As well as Simon’s new role a number of the retail team have taken on strategic roles to enable Legal & General to lead the way in the way in its approach to thinking about retail.  Richard Poyser will take the lead on leasing for some of Legal & General’s large retail projects in order to challenge and identify areas for improvement and make changes to the retail leasing strategy. Greg Westover and Paul Chester are also leading the debate on the digital and experiential elements respectively, across Legal & General’s retail schemes.

Legal & General is currently involved with a number of schemes across the UK where it has made significant investments into improving the retail experience for its local residents. These include the Dolphin Shopping Centre in Poole, the Grafton Centre in Cambridge, Dover St.James, The Arndale Centre in Eastbourne, Thorpe Park Leeds, and Jackson Square, Bishops Stortford.

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Olivia Bayliss

Olivia Bayliss

Head of Communications

Capital and LGIM Real Assets

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Notes to editors

LGIM Real Assets

LGIM Real Assets is a division of Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), one of Europe’s largest institutional asset managers and a major global investor. LGIM manages £951.1bn in assets on behalf of over 3,200 clients (as at 30 June 2017), providing products and solutions spanning all asset classes.  LGIM Real Assets, headed up by Bill Hughes, has AUM of £24.9bn (as at 30 June 2017), actively investing and managing assets across commercial property, private residential, infrastructure and property lending and, most recently, corporate credit.

Legal & General Group

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with a number of growing businesses in the US and in other countries. At 30th June 2017, we had over £951 billion in total assets under management. Over fifteen million people worldwide rely on us to help them save for the future and to protect their families and their homes.

We work with companies and pension trustees to help people build security in retirement, being the UK’s largest investment manager for UK corporate pension schemes, a major provider of auto-enrolled pensions and a market leader in pensions de-risking.  We have also made a commitment to invest around £15 billion in direct investments, with £12 billion already invested in areas such as homes, urban regeneration, clean energy and small business finance, driving economic growth and making a positive difference to the UK’s built environment.