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Hirco, the AIM-listed investment vehicle for Mumbai-based property builder Hiranandani, has appointed Peter Barge as an additional non-executive director. Barge has had a two decade career with real estate consultancy and management firm Jones Lang LaSalle and is retiring from the company after holding the position of chairman & CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle(Asia Pacific) and chairman of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels on June 30, prior to joining Hirco.

Barge will serve on the remuneration committee and strategy and investment committee and has been designated to act as the senior non-executive director (as such role is outlined in the incoming UK Corporate Governance Code), as per a disclosure to the stock exchange by Hirco.

An Australian national, Peter Barge (59) has had a long and varied career including teaching, consultancy and property management. His stint with Jones Lang LaSalle, started with the merger of Transact - a firm he founded - with Jones Lang Wooton (now JLL).

Hirco that went public at AIM in December 2006, had faced shareholder activism last year. One of its large minority shareholders Laxey Partners had demanded replacing Niranjan Hiranandani with an independent director besides replacing three of its board of directors.

Laxey had also opposed a planned merger of its real estate projects (township developments at Panvel near Mumbai and Chennai) and Hirco Developments, a development firm, with its investment arm Hirco. Laxey cited that the merger would dilute their interest and in turn effectively cede control to the Hiranandani family.

Eventually Laxey had lost out as it couldn’t get the requisite number of shareholders to change the board of directors and exited its investments by selling its entire 11.63% stake to HSBC for around Rs 68 crore.

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