McKenna, formerly Brookfield’s lead independent director, replaces Robert Harding as chairman, the Toronto-based company said today in a statement. Harding will remain on Brookfield’s board and head up a new global infrastructure advisory board.
“McKenna is a strong asset to Brookfield’s board,” Alex Avery, an analyst with CIBC World Markets Inc. in Toronto, said in an e-mail today. “His success in business and politics provides BAM with great insights and relationships in both worlds.”
The 62-year-old McKenna was premier of New Brunswick from 1987 to 1997 and ambassador to the U.S. from 2005 to 2006. He has been on Brookfield’s board since 2006. McKenna also is deputy chairman of TD Bank Financial Group and a director at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.
Brookfield is stepping up investments in U.S. commercial real estate after values, as measured by the Moody’s/REAL Commercial Price Index, dropped more than 40 percent from an October 2007 peak. Brookfield bought a 65 percent stake in Fairfield Residential LLC, a San Diego-based apartment owner that came out of bankruptcy this month.
The company will own about 30 percent of General Growth when the Chicago-based mall owner exits bankruptcy, planned for October. Brookfield leads a group that includes Fairholme Capital Management LLC and Pershing Square Capital Management LLC. They pledged about $7 billion of equity for General Growth to come out of Chapter 11 protection.