CIC picks next RE head

Xiao Qing Bai has been appointed as the sovereign wealth fund’s next global head of real estate following the recent resignations of Patrick Wu and, before him, Collin Lau. She performs the role jointly with her responsibilities as head of private equity in North America.

Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation (CIC) has appointed Xiao Qing Bai as its next global head of real estate. In a departure from previous appointments to the role she will also continue in her previous role as head of private equity for North America.

PERE understands that, as a consequence of fulfilling the two roles concurrently, the day-to-day running of CIC’s real estate division is to fall to long-term CIC real estate executive Cai Zhi Wei. Bai is understood to report to global head of private equity, Ludwig He.

The appointments come in the wake of the departure of previous head of real estate Patrick Wu who left only a couple of months after replacing longer-term incumbent Collin Lau. At the end of last year, Lau switched roles to become head of CIC’s European private equity activities.

Lau has since been replaced by Olivia Ouyang after tendering his resignation last month for family reasons. In addition to her new responsibilities, Ouyang leads CIC’s emerging markets investment activities.

The flurry of senior movements is not expected to have any implications for the real estate investing strategy of CIC, it is understood. However, it did result in the delay of certain decisions. For instance, it is understood that CIC’s decision to approve the extension of the investment period of Morgan Stanley Real Estate Investing’s latest global opportunity fund, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund (MSREF) VII Global, held up the process for a period of time.

CIC was created by the Chinese government in 2007 and was tasked with diversifying China’s foreign exchange holdings and obtaining higher risk-adjusted returns. According to its 2010 annual report, published last July, the sovereign wealth fund had $409.6 billion of assets under management, 21 percent of which were alternative assets, including real estate and private equity.