Key directors leave Howard Holdings for asset management venture

KEY personnel departures and project divisions are taking place at Howard Holdings, one of the country’s most aggressive development firms during the Celtic Tiger years.

At peak, Howard Holdings claimed to have up to €4 billion coming on stream in development projects in Ireland, Britain, Portugal and Poland —including the €1bnAtlantic Quarter south docklands project in Cork.

Managing director Jason Clerkin and development director Paul Hannon yesterday confirmed their move from Howard Holdings to a new venture — Clowater Investments Ltd, set up along with former KPMG accountant Alan Morris.

Clowater Investments, to operate out of the Howard Holdings-developed Webworks building by Cork City Hall, may employ up to 12 people, Mr Clerkin indicated. They will specialise in asset and wealth management, and the new venture will take on management of a number of Irish and British Howard Holding assets, projects and investments, including various special purpose vehicles (SPVs) said Mr Clerkin.

“We are taking a more long-term view and approach to the assets, and still hold that we have bought very good sites and have projects planned which will be among the first to pick up when the recovery comes,” said Mr Clerkin, who joined HH in 2005 as developmentdirector, becoming managing director in 2006.

A number of the Howard-originated schemes, such as Atlantic Quarter in Cork docklands and especially its events/conference centre element, are very much alive, Mr Clerkin added, along with strong development sites such as Albert Quay.

Howard Holdings, under its current chief executive and founder Greg Coughlan, is expected to focus more on the company’s European schemes, especially in eastern Europe. Howard Holdings plc in Britain wound up some months ago, but other Howard group developments in Britain will be completed by Clowater.

The departure of Clerkin and Hannon comes less than a year after Howard Holdings’ group finance director Brian Madden parted company with the Cork-based office.

A key HH investor is Brendan Murtagh of the Kingspan group.

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