Close Brothers Property business’ CEO, Frank Pennal, to retire in January 2024
Frank Pennal, chief executive officer of Close Brothers’ Property business, will retire in January 2024 after almost two decades at the helm of the business. He will be succeeded by Phil Hooper, who joins from specialist property lender Pluto Finance, where he was head of lending.
After joining Close Brothers Property Finance business as a director in 1997, Frank was promoted in 2005 to the position of CEO of the group’s property business, which also includes Commercial Acceptances (CA) and Close Brothers Bridging Finance (CBBF). When he joined Close Brothers Property Finance, the team was just five people with a loan book of £40m. Under his leadership, the team has grown to over 100 people, currently funding 7,100 new homes, with a UK-wide loan book of £1.7bn as at 31 July 2023.
Phil Hooper has worked in senior property finance for 15 years, most recently at Pluto Finance. Prior to that he spent 36 years at NatWest, holding a number of senior positions, including head of real estate finance, in which he managed the bank’s £30bn real estate loan book in the UK.
Phil has been working with Close Brothers since September allowing for a comprehensive handover alongside Frank, who will leave the business on 1 January 2024. Phil will be supported in the role by Rowland Thomas, managing director of Close Brothers Property Finance, who has been with the company for 37 years; Daniel Hertz, managing director of CA, who has spent 26 years with the business, and the rest of the senior management team.
Adrian Sainsbury, chief executive officer of Close Brothers Group plc, comments: “Frank’s 26-year track record of galvanising leadership, unwavering client service and impeccable values have been the foundation on which our Property business has been built. Under his strategic counsel and direction, the business is now the market leader for SME development finance, lending to the UK’s most respected developers and housebuilders.”
“Phil’s appointment represents a strong handoff on a high-performing business, which plays a critical role within the group. His depth of knowledge and experience in the sector means he is expertly positioned to take up the mantle and drive further growth in the years ahead.”
Frank Pennal, comments: “It has been a great privilege to work alongside such a hardworking and dedicated team. In some ways the business is very different to the one I joined, but the collegiate environment, commitment to strive for excellence and emphasis on building long-standing client relationships, is still very much at its heart.”
“Phil has excellent knowledge of the property finance market, impressive strategic capabilities and I have every confidence that the Close Brothers Property business will continue to excel under his leadership.”
Phil Hooper, comments: “I am incredibly proud to take on the role of CEO from Frank and I’m looking forward to leading the business’ next phase of growth, while remaining true to the values that have underpinned Close Brothers’ business model for more than 125 years. The Property Finance business has a well-deserved reputation in the industry for being a market leader in its chosen sub sectors, and my priority in my new role will be to continue to provide the same exceptional level of client service; building on the strong foundations laid by the existing team.”