Ardian has hired former Allianz Real Estate chief executive Olivier Piani as an adviser, IPE Real Estate understands.

Piani is based in the $50bn (€46bn) private investment manager’s central Paris office.

As reported last September, Ardian is launching a commercial real estate arm, aiming for €2bn in assets under management by 2020.

The company, which manages pension fund and sovereign wealth capital, said the division was its fifth investment subsidiary.

Bertrand Julien-Laferrière will build and lead the new real estate team.

He previously held roles at Accor, Unibail-Rodamco and Société Foncière Lyonnaise (SFL), where he was chief executive.

Ardian, founded in 1996 and led by Dominique Senequier, is majority-owned by its employees.

Senequier said the real estate arm would not only “strengthen and diversify” the firm’s offering for clients but provide a “substantial growth opportunity”.

“Ardian will primarily focus on investing in commercial and other non-residential real estate assets across Europe,” she said last year.

The company’s fifth pillar of investment activity sits alongside Ardian Direct Investment, Ardian Private Debt, Ardian Fund of Funds and Ardian Infrastructure.

Ardian, formerly AXA Private Equity,recently said it had raised €2.65bn for its fourth infrastructure fund.

European, North American and Asian pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds backed the Ardian Infrastructure IV fund, along with new capital from US investors. 

More than €900m came from new investors.

After seven years as chief executive, Piani’s previous role at Allianz was recently taken by Francois Trausch.

Paris-based Trausch had been chief executive for the Asia Pacific region at GE Capital Real Estate since 2010.

Piani could not be reached for comment.