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UPP announces Sean O’Shea to stepdown as Chief Executive Officer from Q1 of 2019, becoming Vice Chairman, with CFO Richard Bienfait to assume the CEO role

August 7, 2018
Richard Bienfait (Photo: Business Wire)

LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug 7, 2018--UPP Group Holdings Limited and its Parent Company UPP REIT Holdings Limited, the leading provider of on-campus Higher Education infrastructure and support services in the UK, are today announcing important leadership changes.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180807005091/en/

Richard Bienfait (Photo: Business Wire)

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.

“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.


Notes to Editors

1. About University Partnerships Programme

University Partnerships Programme (UPP) is the leading provider of on campus student accommodation infrastructure and support services in the UK. We have more than 35,000 rooms under management, in long term partnerships with 16 leading UK universities. With over 800 employees, we work to deliver the very best student experiences, together with great universities.

We offer bespoke partnerships of typically 40 to 50 years which enable universities to make the most effective use of their assets, free up resources and improve services available to students. We design and develop high quality, affordable student accommodation on campus. Our innovative approach means our interests are aligned with those of each university partner.

Founded in 1998, we have since invested in excess of £2.5 billion in universities across the UK. We have established a long-term growth strategy to ensure we remain well positioned to meet the growing demand for investment within the UK’s higher education sector, whilst at the same time helping our partners achieve their long-term ambitions. In 2013, we outlined a five-year growth plan in which we aim to invest a further £1 billion in delivering the very best student experiences, as well as expand our portfolio to more than 40,000 rooms.

In 2013, UPP made its debut £382.1 million public bond issuance. With a multicurrency programme size of £5 billion, the issuance was the first of its kind within the sector and illustrates our ongoing ambition to bring long term institutional investment to higher education in the UK. In 2014, UPP launched a further tranche of £149.7 million index linked senior secured notes under its investment grade programme.

* All figures as at 31 August 2017

2. Biography of Richard Bienfait, incoming Chief Executive Officer, UPP

Richard was appointed Chief Financial Officer in October 2016. Prior to this, he was Chief Executive Officer of Affinity Water Limited, a position he held for five years from 2010. Richard also worked for 13 years at Veolia Water UK Limited, part of Veolia Environnement SA. During his time at Veolia Water UK Limited, Richard held a number of senior financial positions, including Chief Financial Officer for six years. In this role, he helped grow the turnover of the business from £250 million to £600 million; led the sale of Veolia’s interest in Southern Water in 2006 and the acquisition of non-regulated contracts from Thames Water and United Utilities in 2007 and 2010 respectively; and managed the refinancing of £200 million of debt at Three Valleys Water, the debut long dated Sterling bond issue for Veolia Environnement SA. Richard is a Chartered Accountant and an associate member of the Association of Corporate Treasurers.

3. Biography of Sean O’Shea, outgoing Chief Executive Officer, UPP and Vice Chairman elect

Sean was appointed Group Chief Executive Officer in 2008. In 2004, he led the management buyout which subsequently created UPP from Jarvis plc. He is responsible for the commercial architecture of the Group’s bespoke public-private partnership approach. Sean joined Jarvis plc in 1996 as Construction Director. He has previously also held senior positions at Mansell, part of Balfour Beatty plc. Sean is a Quantity Surveyor and also a member of The Prince’s Trust Built Environment Leadership Group.

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