The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) has named Tom Arnold as global head of real estate, succeeding Bill Schwab, according to reports. Arnold currently serves as deputy global head and head of Americas real estate at the sovereign wealth fund with an estimated $828 billion in assets.
The handover, which was first reported by industry publication PERE, is expected to take effect on June 1. The sovereign fund of the emirate of Abu Dhabi is the world’s largest private real estate investor, with around $47 billion of capital committed to the asset class.
Arnold will continue to serve as interim head of Americas until a successor is named. Prior to joining ADIA in October 2009, Arnold served as managing director at private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, following stints at Credit Suisse and Salomon Brothers (now Citigroup).
Schwab to Step Down After Quadrupling Property Team
Schwab has overseen ADIA’s property division since 2009, during which time he quadrupled the size of the team from 50 to 200 people, while curbing the firm’s reliance on external managers in favour of internal management, according to the report. Under his leadership, ADIA also branched out from investing in core assets in major cities to developing properties and buying alternative real estate assets.
The PERE account indicates that ADIA has a development pipeline of as much as 50 million square feet globally. Schwab joined ADIA from JPMorgan and is expected to stay in the real estate industry following the leadership change.
Gulf Investor Bets on Chinese Sheds
The sovereign wealth fund, headed by Sheikh Hamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is based in the capital of the United Arab Emirates and has only one international office in Hong Kong, which it opened in 2016.
Robert Walker stepped down as ADIA’s head of real estate for Asia Pacific in April of last year, with his understudy Todd Rhodes taking over as acting head while the company searched for Walker’s replacement. In January, ADIA was reported to be searching for a new country head for India with the intention of eventually setting up a team.
ADIA, through its subsidiary HIP China Logistics Investments, formed a joint venture with warehouse builder Prologis in 2011 that has committed over $2.6 billion in equity to acquire, develop and manage logistics properties across China. HIP had contributed 85 percent of the equity as of early 2016.
ADIA also joined forces with New World Development (NWD) and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises to acquire several hotels in Hong Kong for a total of HK$18.5 billion ($2.4 billion) in 2015. The fund’s other investments in Asia have included an affiliate, Abu Dhabi Investment Corporation (ADIC), betting on industrial real estate projects in Singapore.