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ADIA’s global RE head Arnold departs – Exclusive

The world’s third-largest sovereign wealth fund is now searching for a new global head of real estate after Arnold ended his two-year tenure in the role.

Tom Arnold, the global head of real estate at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, has left after serving the firm for more than a decade.

A spokesperson at ADIA confirmed Arnold’s departure, which happened a couple weeks ago. It is understood that Arnold has decided to “return to the US to be closer to his family.”

Tom Arnold

The spokesperson told PERE: “We are very grateful for Tom’s many contributions over the past 11 years and the key role he has played in the development of ADIA’s real estate business. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Meanwhile, 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 while the sovereign wealth fund is searching for a new global head of real estate to lead the team. PERE also understands that Arnold is offering his support to ensure a smooth transition.

Arnold’s departure comes after he has been in the role for two years. He was promoted to the position in May 2018 to replace predecessor and ADIA’s long-time global head of real estate Bill Schwab. Prior to that, Arnold was with the firm for more than eight years as its head of Americas for real estate. As part of the succession plan, he was given additional responsibility as the deputy head of real estate in 2017, according to a prior PERE report.

Before joining ADIA, Arnold was based in New York for more than 20 years. His previous role was as a managing director at New York-based Cerberus Capital Management. The real estate veteran also held senior roles at ING Real Estate, Credit Suisse and Salomon Brothers.

As the biggest private real estate institutional investor with more than $62.1 billion invested in the asset class, the $828 billion sovereign wealth fund can spend between 5 to 10 percent of its portfolio in real estate, according to PERE’s Global Investor 50 in 2019.

Under Arnold’s leadership, ADIA continued to grow its real estate investments in emerging markets on the back of structural growth drivers such as urbanization, growing middle class and rising consumption levels, according to its annual report published in July 2019. In particular, the report stated that the investor’s real estate portfolio in China had increased by one-third since 2017 while it also sealed 11 investments in India in 2018.