When Simon Cooke's wife died of cancer a few years ago he realized something would have to give. His role as chief executive of Deutsche Property Asset Management was demanding and he didn't have enough time for his two young children.
In an attempt to achieve more flexibility Cooke initially tried to convince Deutsche Asset Management to allow him to restructure the property business as a separate boutique. Senior management would take a 50% cut of the profit in an attempt to improve the performance of DePAM by linking managers' goals to fund performance. But DeAM turned him down.
"I launched the business in 1990 and increased it to just over £1 billion of assets under management," says Cooke. "We had delivered a profit every year since it was launched and the business was unblemished." He believes that DeAM was more interested in increasing the size of assets under management than improving performance. "There's no hope for such organizations because anyone with talent or ability would walk out," he adds.
Cooke left DePAM in May and is using his property expertise to act as a consultant. He spends up to two days a week at Hotbed, a private-equity network he joined in June as head of property.