UPDATE 1-Brent Cross-owner Hammerson names Rita-Rose Gagné as CEO

(Adds details on incoming CEO, background)

Sept 30 (Reuters) - London-based mall operator Hammerson on Wednesday named Rita-Rose Gagné as its new chief executive officer and executive director, replacing David Atkins.

Gagné’s appointment comes a few days after the company, which owns Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre, completed a rights issue of 552 million pounds ($709.15 million) as it deals with coronavirus-induced shop closures and a collapse in rent.

The FTSE-250 firm has been trimming down debt and fixing its balance sheet by divesting some of its portfolio over the past year.

Gagné, who will start in her new role before the end of the year, was most recently the president of growth markets at real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge.

Atkins, who has led Hammerson for over a decade, had said in May he plans to step down.

The company’s shares were up 3% at 15.46 pence in early trading. ($1 = 0.7784 pounds) (Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)