24th May 2021 – Internal promotions and external hires as company prepares for next phase of growth
iQ Student Accommodation, one of the leading providers of private purpose-built student accommodation in the UK, is pleased to announce today a series of leadership appointments as it prepares the business for an exciting next chapter of growth. This follows Blackstone’s purchase of iQ last year in what was the UK’s largest ever private real estate deal.
Rob Roger, currently Chief Executive Officer, will step into the role of Executive Chairman from 1 July 2021. Rob joined iQ in 2016 and has played a pivotal role in the business’s growth from 23,000 to more than 29,000 beds, significantly strengthening its presence in key markets across the UK, and overseeing the acquisition by Blackstone in 2020. Rob will continue to advise the executive team and shareholders in his new role as the business delivers on its growth strategy.
Having completed a 12-month commitment supporting the transition to Blackstone’s ownership, Penny Hughes will step down from her role at the end of June 2021.
Matt Merrick will take on the role of Chief Executive Officer, having joined iQ as Chief Operating Officer in 2017. Matt previously held various leadership positions at Virgin Active, including Finance Director, UK Managing Director and most recently European COO. Matt has been the driving force behind developing iQ’s digital platforms, and an increased focus throughout the business on the customer experience.
The role of Chief Operating Officer will be filled by external hire, Dominic Rowell. Dominic joins from Vue International, one of the world’s leading cinema operators, where he is currently Group Executive Director, responsible for the commercial strategy and performance of 225 sites across nine countries. Prior to this, Dominic held the roles of Chief Customer Officer at Metro UK, Managing Director at Lonely Planet and had an early career in brand, marketing and customer experience at Sainsburys and Pepsi.
Alex Moon, General Counsel, who has been with the business since 2018 will take on a broader remit – bringing together iQ’s legal, risk, compliance and HR functions – becoming General Counsel and Chief of Staff.
These moves follow the appointments of Dushyant (Dush) Sangar as Chief Investment Officer and Peter Cross as Director of Strategy and Shareholder Relations last month to further support iQ’s growth strategy.
Commenting on his new role, Rob Roger said: “I am immensely proud of what iQ has achieved over the last five years. Through consistent investment in the business and organic growth, we have become one of the UK’s leading providers of student accommodation. As the UK continues to attract a growing number of students and demand for high-quality accommodation increases, I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated executive team and our highly supportive shareholders as this truly stand-out business serves students from all over the world.”
Matt Merrick said of his appointment: “I have been with iQ through significant growth and change over the last four years and have seen first-hand the difference that high quality, well located accommodation makes to a student’s university experience. With our strong pipeline of new developments in cities with the highest demand, and our relentless focus on customer experience, I am excited to be taking on this new challenge as CEO as we bring iQ’s offer to even more students across the UK.“