As far as hobbies go, Pascal Duhamel has an interesting one. According to one person, the new head of European investments at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is an avid collector of locomotives. Not just model trains, but large ones. 

It is an irrelevant detail that ADIA had no reason to include when it released details of his appointment last month. However, it does go to show that Duhamel is a colourful character.

Those that know Duhamel professionally also say he is a “thoughtful and patient” investor and an “asset manager” primarily, and those things bode well for ADIA as an organization, which places emphasis on being a careful macroeconomic strategic thinker and has been busy hiring people to build a 90-strong real estate team.

As head of European real estate investments based in Abu Dhabi (as all ADIA staff are), Duhamel will be responsible for leading a team of senior portfolio managers, developing strategy and overseeing management of ADIA’s real estate portfolios in Europe. He will report 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.

Those that know Duhamel suggest he grew tired of his former employer, Carrefour, the French supermarket group. He resigned in November from Paris-based Carrefour Property, where he was chief executive officer from 2008 following a decision to ditch plans to spin off Carrefour’s €12 billion real estate portfolio into a separate listed vehicle. As well as an IPO, there had been talk of more investments and developments, but those plans didn’t come to fruition either.

In Duhamel, ADIA has taken on someone with operator experience, given his three years at Carrefour, as well as deep investment experience from 10 years spent at Morgan Stanley. At Morgan Stanley, he initially worked as executive director of the bank’s real estate asset management group before being promoted to managing director in charge of its real estate funds in France, Spain and Benelux, as well as overseeing the firm’s core funds for Europe.