Fitch Ratings has created a new U.S. commercial real estate CDO group to be led by Managing Director Jenny Story. "With CRE CDO issuance up over 100% in the first quarter of 2006 and the average deal size more than doubling, it is obvious that more investors are increasingly finding favor with CRE CDOs," said Jill Zelter, managing director in CDOs. Story will report to both Zelter and CMBS Managing Director Susan Merrick. Other members of Fitch's U.S. CRE CDO group will include Senior Director Karen Trebach, who will be responsible for overseeing CRE CDO surveillance and asset manager ratings, as well as Directors Jimmy Lee and David Harrison, who will both focus on new issuance. The rating agency plans to transfer seven analysts who will be responsible for analyzing these deals, as well as seek new hires for the newly formed division.