Business heroes: Marko Bogoievski: Visionary who reshaped Infratil’s manager into an institution

Marko Bogoievski’s time as the chief executive of Morrison & Co has seen the asset manager transformed from a brilliant, if quirky, team behind Infratil to an emerging global player at the cutting edge of infrastructure investment.

Bogoievski joined Morrison & Co in 2008 after missing out on the top job at Telecom and a year later would step up to chief executive, when its founder, Lloyd Morrison, was diagnosed with leukaemia.

At the time, Morrison & Co was dominated by the management of Infratil, the NZX-listed investment manager, had a nascent partnership with the then-new New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and little else.

Although it had delivered returns averaging 18 per cent in its first 15 years, it faced a tricky adjustment with some of its investments struggling, most notably its deeply troubled European airports.

As Bogoievski prepares to step down as chief executive at the end of December, Morrison & Co manages more than $20 billion, and while Infratil has continued to perform, it is now around a quarter of what the company manages.

Morrison & Co now manages money on behalf of around 70 institutional clients. In November it announced its new global infrastructure fund had attracted more than US$3b (NZ$4.4b) before it even launched.

Public transport investments have been replaced with data centres and telecommunications investments, and more recently healthcare.

Although the returns of its first data centre investment, Australian CDC, are now measured in the billions, when Bogoievski announced it, the market was deeply skeptical.

“It isn’t infrastructure,” Bogoievski recalled of the reaction of analysts at the time. “Or if it is infrastructure, it’s real estate.”

Now, data centres are one of the hottest asset classes in the world.

A former colleague said Bogoievski had been known for spotting trends before others for a long time.

“He sees things so far ahead of everyone else,” says Theresa Gattung who lured Bogoievski back from more than a decade in New York to be chief financial officer at Telecom.

When Bogoievski stepped down as chief executive of Infratil earlier this year, the company said he had reshaped the portfolio, laying a platform for the investment fund to deliver after-tax returns of just under 20 per cent a year over 12 years.

Del Hart, head of external investments and partnerships at the Super Fund, said the fund and Morrison had “grown up alongside each other”.

From an early joint investment in what was Shell (now Z Energy), the Super Fund now has more than $1b invested with Morrison & Co.

Morrison & Co was “a best in class” infrastructure investor, Hart said, crediting Bogoievski with creating a trusting relationship, with key staff speaking frequently with the fund about idea development.

Bogoievski had not only guided the company from founder-led company to institution, he had created a team which spotted investment trends ahead of other infrastructure managers, Hart said.

“I think he’s very strategic and visionary in that regard.”

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