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Partners Real Estate Investment Trust owns shopping centres across Canada.

JASON FRANSON/The Globe and Mail

Partners Real Estate Investment Trust has bid farewell to its chief executive officer, extending a recent streak of management turnover.

The REIT, which primarily owns shopping centres across Canada, announced Tuesday that Ron McCowan has been named interim CEO, replacing former chief Patrick Miniutti. Mr. McCowan is currently the REIT's largest unitholder, with a 15-per-cent stake. Partners also named Derrick West as its chief financial officer.

No specific reasoning was given for the CEO replacement, but Partners noted that the move coincides with the internalization of its management team. Historically, Partners employed League Assets Corp. as its external manager, meaning the REIT paid an outside firm to manage its affairs – a common industry practice.

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However, League filed for bankruptcy protection in October, and shortly after Partners announced that it would bring its management team in-house. At the time, there was no indication that a new CEO would be named.

The latest shuffle extends a string of recent departures at both the REIT's executive and board levels. Late in 2013 the Partners fired its chief investment and financial officers, and also installed a brand new slate of board trustees – its second board roster in six months.

Following a bitter proxy battle last May, Partners kicked out its trustees and replaced them with new faces. Just six months later, the REIT replaced fresh trustees with a brand new slate – a move that came shortly after Mr. McCowan bought his 15-per-cent stake.

Although Mr. Miniutti is no longer the chief CEO, Partners said he will remain as one the REIT's trustees.

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