Richard Bienfait, Chief Financial Officer, UPP
UPP announce new CEO
Sean O'Shea is to step down as CEO from Q1 of 2019, becoming Vice Chairman, with CFO Richard Bienfait to assume the CEO role
Posted by Ed Brown | August 08, 2018 | People
upp, sean-oshea, student-accommodation, richard-bienfait, higher-education

UPP Group Holdings Limited and its Parent Company UPP REIT Holdings Limited, a provider of on-campus higher education infrastructure and support services in the UK, have announced important leadership changes. 

Sean O’Shea will move from his position as Chief Executive Officer of UPP Group Limited and become Vice Chairman from Q1 2019.  Sean will remain with the business, ensuring a smooth transition to the new CEO and focusing on other key elements of the business. 

Richard Bienfait, currently UPP Chief Financial Officer, will take over from Sean from January 2019. Richard joined UPP in October 2016 having previously been CEO of Affinity Water, a position he held for five years from 2010. Richard also previously worked for 13 years at Veolia Water, part of Veolia Environnement SA. 

Robert McClatchey, Chairman of UPP Group Holdings Limited, said: “Under Sean’s leadership UPP has successfully pursued a strategy focussed on our partnership model, strengthening the Group’s structure to ensure it is effective at building, operating and managing assets over the life of each concession, placing the entire portfolio on cost-effective long-term borrowing.  

“Today, in our twentieth anniversary year, UPP’s portfolio stands at more than 35,000 rooms under management with 16 university partners. Having continued to evolve and grow, by actively building resilience across the Group and remaining true to the model developed two decades ago, Sean has ensured the Company is in the strongest shape it has been in since it was established in 1998.  

UPP’s portfolio stands at more than 35,000 rooms under management with 16 university partners

“As we head into the exciting next phase of UPP’s development, and progress with our succession plan, we are delighted that Richard will bring his leadership expertise and strong interest in Higher Education to the role of Chief Executive Officer. I would like to thank Sean for his long-standing, committed, pioneering leadership over the years. We’re all grateful that UPP will continue to benefit from Sean’s expertise and that he will continue to be part of UPP’s future as Richard transitions into his new role.” 

Richard Bienfait, incoming Chief Executive Officer of UPP, commented: “I’m delighted to be moving into this new role to achieve our strategic objectives and build on the track record that Sean and the rest of the team at UPP have built over the years. We’re looking forward to supporting the Higher Education sector as it faces new opportunities and challenges, by continuing to work in partnership with universities to provide on-campus Higher Education infrastructure and support services.” 

Sean O’Shea, outgoing Group Chief Executive Officer of UPP Group Holdings Limited, added: “Having been a founding partner in UPP, I have had the pleasure of steering the company through many phases of development and exponential growth. I’m delighted to be stepping into a role where I can support the Company through the next part of its journey, as we seek to support universities in new ways. I look forward to continuing to work with Richard and the rest of the team to further develop the business.”  

Sean O’Shea was appointed CEO during the financial year 2008/09. During his leadership the Group has more than doubled the number of rooms it has under management, increased annual turnover from £40 million to £178 million, and has successfully issued three tranches of debt under its £5 billion bond programme and converted to a Real Estate Investment Trust – floating the Group on The International Stock Exchange in March of 2018. In addition to the new role, and building on his track record of leading the establishment of the UPP Foundation, Sean O’Shea will dedicate more time to charitable causes and take on other roles within business and the Higher Education sector. 

UPP is majority owned by PGGM VERMOGENSBEHEER B.V. (PGGM). PGGM provide services in the field of pension management, integral asset management and executive advice to pension funds and have a long-term hold position with respect to UPP. The company currently manage pension assets worth EUR 215 billion for different pension funds and is administrating pensions of 4.2 million participants in the health and social sector of the Netherlands.

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