Dennis Lopez, global chief investment officer of AXA Investment Managers–Real Assets, is to head up the real estate investment arm of British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (bcIMC).

Lopez, who has been with AXA IM-RA since 2009, will become chief executive of QuadReal Property Group, which was set up last year to manage the CAD18bn (€12.1bn) real estate portfolio of the Canadian institutional investor.

He will leave AXA IM-RA in London at the end of May and join QuadReal in Vancouver on 5 June.

BcIMC, which manages the investments pension, trust and insurance funds in British Columbia, created QuadReal to move the management of its real estate in-house.

When QuadReal was established in June 2016, bcIMC’s real estate assets were managed externally by Bentall Kennedy, GWL Realty Advisors and Realstar.

At the time, bcIMC said the “management of these real estate assets will begin to transfer to QuadReal in 2017”.

Earlier this year, QuadReal announced a number of appointments to its board, including board chair Paul Cantor, a former board chair of Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments).

“From the outset, we believed that a successful search for a globally recognised real estate leader would complement our strong Canadian and growing international capabilities,” Cantor said today.

Lopez will work with the board of directors and executive management to devise and oversee QuadReal’s global and domestic real estate investments, development and management activities.

“QuadReal’s mandate to become a leading institutional real estate investment firm, with properties in Canada and around the world, captures my imagination and inspires me to lead this team,” said Lopez.

AXA IM-RA said Lopez had been “instrumental in the transformation of the company from a Europe-centric real estate manager to a global leader in real assets”.

“After eight highly stimulating and successful years at AXA IM–RA, and having been offered a unique challenge in a new role where I will be located closer to home in North America, I have made the difficult decision to leave,” Lopez said.

“I have had an outstanding experience working at AXA IM–RA during which time the business achieved significant growth, strong innovation and expanded into new territories.”

Laurent Jacquemin, European head of transactions, Charles Daulon du Laurens, global head of client capital group, and Greg Mansell, global head of research, now report directly to Isabelle Scemama, chief executive of AXA IM–RA.

“We are fortunate that, with Dennis’ support, we have built a strong and highly professional team that will seamlessly pick up the reins from him, ensuring our clients continue to receive strong investment performance and first-class service,” said Scemama.

“I am also pleased that Dennis will join QuadReal as CEO, one of our clients and partners, where we very much look forward to continuing to work with him.”