Quinlan confirms retirement


Property investor Derek Quinlan has confirmed his intention to step down as chairman and partner of of the Dublin investment company that bears his name at the end of this month.

One of the best-known and most aggressive Irish investors of the recent property boom, Mr Quinlan (61) will retire just over 20 years after he founded the investment firm.

The former tax inspector will remain a significant investor with the company which will continue to be managed by its four existing partners – Olan Cremin, Peter Donnelly, Thomas Dowd and Mark O’Donnell.

“We have developed an exceptional, well-balanced leadership team which is well equipped to deal with the challenges presented by current business conditions and, over the medium-term, to sustain Quinlan Private’s continued growth and development,” he said in a statement.

Founded in 1989 to offer tax advice to wealthy individuals, Quinlan Private has grown into a multibillion euro property firm with a large international client base and investments in more than 15 countries.

Mr Quinlan was the driving force behind the growth of the business, attracting wealthy investors in Britain, the Middle East and the US, and completing significant property deals.

The company came to international prominence in 2004 when Mr Quinlan led a group of Irish investors to buy the luxury Savoy hotel group in London for €1.1 billion.

Described by associates as “a deal junkie”, the financier has withdrawn from a management role within the firm in recent times to focus on his personal investments. He has also been spending more time at his homes in London and France.

Quinlan Private gained a reputation for attracting cash-rich investors into high-profile property deals financed with high levels of bank borrowings and completed in quick transactions. The global economic slump and financial crisis has forced banks to seek renegotiated loan agreements with Quinlan Private – and Mr Quinlan on his own personal investments – due to falling values across the property markets.

The sharp decline in property values has turned the focus of the Dublin investment firm from new acquisitions to refinancing completed transactions and the development of existing properties.

Mr Quinlan has also made high-profile personal investments. He purchased the head office of Spanish bank Santander in Madrid for €1.9 billion last year and the Citigroup’s 42-storey building in London’s Canary Wharf for €1.2 billion in 2007 in joint ventures with UK property tycoon Glenn Maud.

Mr Quinlan has been trying to sell properties including a house in Manhattan for €23 million and offices, also in New York city, for €19 million and has reduced the prices in a bid to secure sales. He has recently been involved in negotiations with some of his banks about his investments.