UK - LaSalle Investment Management has hired Richard Debney as European director and fund manager for the British Coal Schemes Pension Plan.

Previously, Debney was head of property for the British Steel Pension Fund, where he was responsible for its £500m (€741m) portfolio.

Succeeding the retiring Bryan Ellinthorpe, who worked with the coal schemes for 34 years, Debney will manage a team of 40, responsible for defining and implementing investment strategy and accountable to the fund for the performance of the portfolio.

The fund, valued at £10.4bn, is one of the largest in the UK. It has a property portfolio of more than £2.5bn, the company said.

Charles Maudsley, managing director of LaSalle's UK business, is confident that there will be a smooth transition, saying: "We are extremely pleased to have Richard join our organisation where his skills and energy will be used to continue the outperformance enjoyed by the fund for so many years."

Before joining the British Steel fund two years ago, Debney was chief executive officer of Haslemere NV.