Nama’s Connor Owens tipped to head Hammerson’s Irish arm

Multinational property group based in UK is part-owner of Dundrum Town Centre

National Asset Management Agency (Nama) executive Connor Owens has emerged as a likely candidate to head multinational property group Hammerson's Irish operations.

Hammerson, part owner of Dundrum Town Centre, the Republic's biggest shopping centre, has been seeking to appoint a new head of Irish retail since promoting the incumbent, Simon Betty, to lead its overall residential business.

Sources have named Mr Owens, Nama’s head of asset management and recovery, as the likeliest candidate to succeed Mr Betty, but say that no agreement has been finalised with the State agency’s executive as yet.

Nama said in a statement on Thursday that Mr Owens “remained an employee” of the agency. Hammerson did not comment.


‘Gardening leave’

Brendan McDonagh, Nama’s chief executive, told the Dáil’s Committee of Public Accounts last week that staff were leaving the agency, which is being wound down.

He noted that most were finding jobs in property, accounting and law following periods of “gardening leave”.

Set up in 2010 take over Irish banks’ property loans following the financial crisis, Nama returned a €2 billion surplus to the exchequer this year.

Along with Dundrum, Hammerson owns stakes in the Swords Pavilions and Ilac shopping centres in Dublin, where it also plans a major redevelopment of the area around Moore Street. The UK-based group has operations in several European countries.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas