Bruce Flatt likes to go against the grain. “We’re a net buyer in anything that’s out of favour,” the CEO of Brookfield Asset Management said in an interview with Bloomberg in 2016. “As value investors are contrarian investors, we’re always trying to find those spots around the world.” (Think: Brazil, India and Europe; oil and gas; infrastructure around commodities.)
His counterintuitive philosophy was apparent this year in his expressed openness to the idea of acquiring the troubled Home Capital while other big investors shied away. Dido for his skepticism of the commonly held view that malls are a dying trend.
Indeed, that logic has served Flatt well. In 2002, at just 37 years old, he was appointed CEO of Brookfield Asset Management, then a sprawling conglomerate known as Brascan. His tenure has worked out fabulously for the company, its investors and, as a holder of some 18.2 million shares, Flatt himself. He’s a business wunderkind, and was an integral member of a group of executives who shed assets and transformed the company into one of the country’s largest managers of property and infrastructure. There are a number of high-profile properties in Brookfield’s $200-billion portfolio, including One Liberty Plaza in New York.
When not overseeing a business with approximately $250 billion in assets, Flatt sits on several boards; in the past two decades, he has been on more than 20. But he’s apparently not a fan of life sequestered in a corner office; he regularly eats lunch with new hires, and reportedly does not even have his own office.
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017