ADIA hires ex-Carrefour Property CEO to head Europe

Former Morgan Stanley and Carrefour Property professional Pascal Duhamel has joined the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to lead European investments. Customary for ADIA professionals, he will be based in Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) has made a high profile appointment in the form of Pascal Duhamel as head of European real estate investments.

Based in Abu Dhabi, Duhamel will be responsible for leading a team of senior portfolio managers and for developing strategy and overseeing management of ADIA’s real estate portfolios in Europe, said the sovereign wealth fund today. He ultimately reports in to Bill Schwab, global head of real estate, who in turn is answerable to Majed Al Romaithi, executive director of ADIA’s real estate and infrastructure group. 

Duhamel is joining from Carrefour Property based in Paris where he was chief executive officer from 2008 until last November when he quit following a decision to ditch plans to spin off Carrefour’s real estate portfolio into a separate listed vehicle. The idea for the €12 billion portfolio was reportedly blocked by the holding of Groupe Arnault of France and private equity real estate firm Colony Capital, which together own 14 percent of the French retailer that has been struggling with falling sales in Europe. Last month Carrefour chief executive, Lars Olofson, said he was quitting the business.

Al Romaithi said that Duhamel had “considerable experience in real estate, combined with an excellent track record in managing sizeable portfolios”. He added: “(He) will further strengthen our capabilities in the important European market.” Prior to Carrefour, he spent 10 years at Morgan Stanley, initially as executive director of the bank’s real estate asset management group before being promoted to managing director in charge of Morgan Stanley’s real estate funds in France, Spain and Benelux, as well as overseeing the firm’s core funds for Europe.

The fund did not provide a figure for its real estate holdings in the region. Indeed, it hasn’t revealed the total of its global real estate holdings. According to sources, it has around $31 billion of property. Its allocation to the asset class is between 5 and 10 percent of total assets and the state fund has previously told PERE its holdings sit within that range.

In the same interview the sovereign wealth fund told PERE it had a plan to build its real estate team to around 90 people.