REAL ESTATE - Former Austrian finance minister Karl-Heinz Grasser on Friday joined the supervisory board of C-Quadrat, the real estate subsidiary of fund manager Altira, at the firm’s annual shareholder meeting.

The firm is priming Grasser to become the board’s chairman.

The 38-year-old Grasser was Austrian federal finance minister for a seven-year period from 2000—2007. During that time he served as president of ECOFIN and represented Austrian on the G8.

According to spokesman Hieronymus Tupay, Grasser will be instrumental in C-Quadrat’s plans to expand in Germany and eastern Europe. The firm is already present in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland.

"He’s well known throughout Europe," said Tupay. "He has a lot of contacts and a knowledge of markets. He gives us an entrance to European partners."

Grasser was already a shareholder when directors of the firm approached him. "It was pretty simple, actually," said Tupay. "He said OK."

In separate news, AXA Investment Managers (AXA IM) has appointed Pierre Vaquier, head of AXA’s French subsidiary, as chairman and CEO of AXA Real Estate Investment Management (AXA REIM). His predecessor at AXA REIM, AXA IM CEO Dominique Carrel-Billiard, will remain chairman of the AXA REIM board.