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Centro Retail Names Steven Sewell CEO, Succeeding Tsenin

Centro Retail Australia, the entity formed from the restructure of Centro Properties Group, named Steven Sewell as chief executive officer to succeed Robert Tsenin.

Sewell, now chief executive of Charter Hall Retail REIT, will take over from Tsenin on or before April 2, Centro Retail said in a statement to the stock exchange today.

“Centro has an impressive portfolio of assets, diversified across Australia, with excellent opportunities for income and capital growth,” Sewell said in the statement. “I look forward to working with the team to convert these opportunities and grow the company for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The new real estate trust, with A$4.4 billion ($4.5 billion) of Australian shopping center properties, began trading last month after investors and creditors of the debt-laden parent Centro Properties, Centro Retail Trust, and the group’s unlisted funds and syndicates approved a plan to cancel its debt and pool assets into a combined entity.

Centro Retail Australia shares surged 6.1 percent to A$1.82 at the 4:10 p.m. close of trading in Sydney.

Sewell, chairman of the Shopping Centre Council of Australia, has led Charter Hall Retail for five years, after stints at Macquarie Group and QIC Property in Brisbane, according to the statement. He takes over a company that owns interests in 43 shopping centers in Australia and manages 27 syndicates.

He will be paid a base salary of A$900,000 that will be reviewed annually, a sign-on bonus of A$350,000 and a relocation allowance of A$100,000 a year for the first two years. He will also be eligible for short-term incentives worth a maximum of 150 percent of his base salary and his first long-term incentive plan will be about A$1.08 million worth of performance rights, the company said.

Takeover interest in the company lingers, with Tsenin saying last month that he has heard of potential suitors still seeking to buy its assets.

Centro Properties last month named John Georgakis as its new chief executive officer to oversee its wind-up.

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