Tycoon Quinlan to step down

DEREK Quinlan, one of Ireland&rsquo;s most prominent property tycoons, said yesterday that he plans to step down as chairman of investment group Quinlan Private (QP), which he founded 20 years ago.<br /><br />Quinlan &ndash; who built the company from a small tax consultancy to an international private equity firm with over &euro;10bn (&pound;8.6bn) in assets under management &ndash; will retire on 31 July, but will continue to hold a substantial share of the business.<br /><br />The tycoon said that it felt like &ldquo;the right time to retire&rdquo; and will hand the firm&rsquo;s management to his partners Olan Cremin, Peter Donnelly, Thomas Dowd and Mark O&rsquo;Donnell.<br /><br />The international spotlight first fell on Ballsbridge-based QP in 2004, when it acquired the Savoy Group of hotels for &euro;1.1bn (then &pound;726m) on behalf of investors, having outbid a member of the Saudi royal family.<br /><br />The firm went on to acquire the Jurys Inn hotels chain and to partner with with Israeli group Igal Ahouvi to buy 47 Marriott hotels in the UK. Further investments include Barcelona&rsquo;s Diagonal Mar shopping centre and the Bank of Ireland&rsquo;s Dublin headquarters.<br /><br />Former tax inspector Quinlan has also ploughed vast amounts of his own money into the market, with investments in Spanish bank Santander&rsquo;s Madrid head office, Citigroup&rsquo;s Canary Wharf tower and several landmark hotels. Quinlan also owns property on the French Riviera&rsquo;s Cap Ferrat, a former embassy in Dublin and a 13,000 square-foot Manhattan townhouse.<br /><br />The slide in property values has meant QP&rsquo;s focus has switched from deals to financial restructuring and it is understood to be speaking with banks about cash injections.