Press releases

Legal & General appoints Head of Retail as it continues to strengthen platform

LGIM Real Assets (Legal & General) announces that it has promoted Simon Russian to Head of Retail as it continues to strengthen its retail platform to positively respond to the ever-changing retail market.

15 Nov 2017

Legal & General has committed almost £400m this year alone into improving and evolving its retail destinations for its consumers.

Simon’s new role forms an important part of Legal & General’s strategy to ensure that it continues to challenge retail market conventions and adopt a fresh approach to managing its portfolio so that it meets current and future shopper’s requirements. He will be supported by an established team of 30 retail specialists.

Legal & General recognises the importance of reimagining and rebuilding the urban environment in its entirety and has invested £12bn into UK direct investments and urban regeneration projects to date, with a commitment to invest £15bn.

Reporting to Michael Barrie, Head of Fund Management, Simon has more than 20 years of retail experience. He will lead the retail team and be responsible for taking a strategic and holistic view on all Legal & General’s retail assets to identify areas for change and innovation, ensuring that it creates long-lasting schemes that improve the urban environment.

Michael Barrie, Head of Fund Management at LGIM Real Assets, said: “The continued evolution of the retail environment is an opportunity to positively differentiate us from our competitors. The impact of e-commerce and changes to the logistics sector has meant that the UK has undergone a seismic shift that retail has had to respond to. We are committed to working closely with occupiers to embrace these changes so that we create retail assets that are suitable not just for today but for 20 years’ time. Our long term approach means that we are working creatively and applying important new technologies in order to future-proof our assets.  Simon and his team have a unique opportunity to reimagine and embrace the future of retail and to create transformational new retail destinations where people will want to shop.”

Simon was most recently in charge of delivering The Lexicon Bracknell, the £240 million retail and leisure town centre destination in Berkshire. Now at almost 95% occupancy, the transformed town centre opened in September this year, with Bracknell’s footfall more than quadrupling since launch.   The vast majority of its occupiers have reported that they have significantly exceeded sales target, with some saying their store was their best performing nationally.

Simon Russian, Head of Retail, LGIM Real Assets, added: “Creating and improving a retail destination is more than just carrying out a refresh. In my new role I will take a strategic view on how our retail schemes fit within a wider community so that we are regenerating areas in a holistic and joined up way. Deeper occupier engagement and a hands-on approach are also key to helping us understand what the discerning consumer wants. At Bracknell, researching the detail of all of these factors and engaging with our occupiers from the beginning was paramount to creating a long-lasting retail destination.”

As well as Simon’s new role a number of the retail team have taken on strategic roles to enable Legal & General to lead the way in the way in its approach to thinking about retail.  Richard Poyser will take the lead on leasing for some of Legal & General’s large retail projects in order to challenge and identify areas for improvement and make changes to the retail leasing strategy. Greg Westover and Paul Chester are also leading the debate on the digital and experiential elements respectively, across Legal & General’s retail schemes.

Legal & General is currently involved with a number of schemes across the UK where it has made significant investments into improving the retail experience for its local residents. These include the Dolphin Shopping Centre in Poole, the Grafton Centre in Cambridge, Dover St.James, The Arndale Centre in Eastbourne, Thorpe Park Leeds, and Jackson Square, Bishops Stortford.

Further information


Olivia Bayliss

Head of Communications

Capital and LGIM Real Assets

Notes to editors

Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets (LGIMRA) is a division of Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), one of Europe’s largest institutional asset managers and a major global investor. LGIM manages £1.28tn in assets (as at 31 December 2020), working with a range of global clients, including pension schemes, sovereign wealth funds, fund distributors and retail investors.

LGIM Real Assets has assets under management of £36.3bn (as at 31 December 2020) and is one of the largest private markets investment managers in the UK. Investing in both debt and equity and across the risk/return spectrum, LGIM Real Assets actively invests in and manages assets across commercial, operational and residential property sectors, as well as infrastructure, real estate, corporate and alternative debt.

Taking a long term view in order to future proof our investments, LGIM Real Assets continues to lead the industry in ESG performance, considering all environmental, social and governance issues at asset level as well as portfolio level. In 2021, we are implementing a strategy as part of our commitment to net zero carbon emissions across the real estate equity business by 2050, and have also committed to measuring social value across 20% of our platform by the end of the year.

(As of June 2021)


The value of an investment and any income taken from it is not guaranteed and can go down as well as up, you may not get back the amount you originally invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. You should consult an independent investment adviser prior to making any investment in order to determine its suitability to your circumstances.

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK's leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with over £1.4 trillion in total assets under management* of which a third is international. We also provide powerful asset origination capabilities. Together, these underpin our leading retirement and protection solutions: we are a leading international player in pension risk transfer, in UK and US life insurance, and in UK workplace pensions and retirement income. Through inclusive capitalism, we aim to build a better society by investing in long-term assets that benefit everyone. 

*at 31 Dec 2021