ADIA loses head of Americas RE amid a wave of senior departures

The Middle Eastern sovereign wealth fund is left with no permanent global head of real estate or regional heads of real estate.

Gerald Fang, the head of Americas real estate at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, has left the sovereign wealth fund after more than a decade, PERE can reveal exclusively.

Fang resigned from his position earlier this month, although ADIA has not made any official communications about his departure, according to two sources close to the situation. Fang was named the head of Americas real estate in 2018 after his predecessor Tom Arnold was promoted to global head of real estate. Arnold left ADIA in July 2020 after spending more than 10 years at the institution.

Fang’s resignation is the latest in a wave of senior departures at the real estate team. The sovereign wealth fund is currently without a permanent real estate head or any regional real estate heads. Pascal Duhamel, former head of Europe real estate at ADIA, left in December 2020 after spending eight years at the organization. Todd Rhodes, former head of Asia-Pacific real estate, departed in 2018 shortly after he had been promoted to replace his predecessor Rob Walker in 2017. Rhodes’ responsibility was then taken over by Anthony Bertoldi, who became the acting head of Asia-Pacific real estate. Bertoldi also left ADIA in September 2020 after more than nine years.

Other ADIA real estate executives are leading the team until permanent replacements have been appointed. PERE reported in July 2020 that Salem Al-Darmaki, deputy director of ADIA’s real estate and infrastructure department, has taken up the role of acting global head of real estate. Meanwhile, senior portfolio managers Christophe Ben Naceur and Aditya Bhargava have taken up the responsibilities of acting head of Europe real estate and acting head of Asia-Pacific real estate, respectively.

It is unknown who will replace Fang or whether ADIA is looking outside of the organization to fill the regional head positions.

ADIA declined to comment on the matter.

The sovereign wealth fund has a history of calling on its deputies. As ADIA was grooming Arnold to succeed former global real estate head Bill Schwab, Arnold took on the additional role as the deputy global head of real estate to ensure a smooth transition. Both Fang and Rhodes were the deputy heads of Americas and Asia-Pacific before they were promoted.

“It is even more difficult to search for any permanent heads for ADIA now with the travel restrictions in place, everyone wants to stay close to home,” a market source told PERE. “For the same reason, it is not surprising to see a lot of expat departures from Abu Dhabi as well.”