Ex-Allianz chief Piani joins Ardian Real Estate

Paris-based private equity group Ardian has named Allianz’s former chief executive as senior advisor and chairman of its real estate division's investment committee.

Ardian Real Estate, the property investment arm of AXA Private Equity spin-off Ardian, has hired former Allianz chief executive Olivier Piani.

The firm, led by French real estate veteran Bertrand Julien-Laferrière, has named Piani senior advisor and chairman of its investment committee.

Piani retired from Allianz at the end of last year after eight years in the top job and has been hired to help build the Paris-based firm’s real estate arm, which was only launched in September 2015. Francois Trausch, former CEO Asia-Pacific of GE Capital Real Estate replaced Piani at Allianz.

“Our objective is to become a leading player in the real estate market, combining the company’s on-the-ground knowledge and relationships with the global perspective which has so often given Ardian its competitive edge,” commented Dominique Senequier, president of Ardian.

Ardian Real Estate plans to build-up a portfolio of commercial property assets in the Eurozone focusing on the core-plus and value-add investments. In order to do so the firm will leverage off Ardian’s existing European resources, and will look to make senior appointments in France, Germany and Italy, Julien-Laferrière told Private Equity International's sister title PEREin a prior interview.

“It is going to be European, we don’t want to be just French. We want to be able to build up a portfolio of real estate investments across Europe. We feel that we will start more naturally in France, Germany and Italy because these are places where Ardian is well settled,” said Julien-Laferrière.

The move into real estate is the fifth investment arm of the Paris-headquartered firm, which also invests in alternative assets via: Ardian Direct Investment, Ardian Private Debt, Ardian Fund of Funds and Ardian Infrastructure.

Ardian currently manages $50 billion of assets for 433 investors across the world, including pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, family offices and high net worth individuals.