Blue-chip shopping centre owner Hyprop Investments announced on Tuesday that financial director Laurence Cohen was stepping down after nearly 15 years in the role. He leaves a large gap at Hyprop, having been among the longest-serving executives in the listed-property sector. Cohen, 45, is a chartered accountant who joined the group in October 2003 as the financial director of Hyprop Management Company after three years in Grant Thornton’s corporate-finance division. The management company was internalised into Hyprop in line with global best practice. "He was brilliant and we rate him. It’s a big loss to Hyprop but it shouldn’t really impact them with regard to executing on their strategy," said Wynand Smit, a research analyst at Anchor Stockbrokers. During his tenure at Hyprop he chaired the SA Reit Association’s accounting and JSE committees. Cohen was also instrumental in developing best practice recommendations for the South African real estate investment trust sector. He resig...

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