EUROPE - The European Association for Investors in Non-listed Real Estate Funds (INREV) has appointed Matthias Thomas, the founder of Investment Property Databank (IPD) Germany, as chief executive officer.

Interim director Andrea Carpenter will return to her role as director of professional standards and communications when he joins in August.

Thomas, now a professor at the European Business School - where he gained his doctorate - has published voluminously, including on property portfolio management and the development of performance index for the German property market.

In a press statement, INREV chairman Johan van der Ende said the management board had been "genuinely impressed" by Thomas's research background.

"The research background is exactly what the management board went for," a spokeswoman told IPE Real Estate.

Although "several people" had applied for the role in a recruitment process that took several months, she could not confirm that Carpenter had been one of them. "There were several different people and it took several months to recruit him," she said.

It isn't yet clear what differences, if any, the new director will make. "We won't know until he joins," said the spokeswoman, "but his appointment emphasises how important research is to us."

Asked how INREV members had responded, she said the reaction had been positive because Thomas was well-known and well-respected. "The members we spoke to are looking forward to working with him," she said.

The organisation counts among its members 55 pension funds and insurers with €135bn in assets under management.

Pension fund members contacted in their response to the appointment were unperturbed. Asked for a wish list of issues he would like the new CEO to pursue, a portfolio manager from AP3, the SEK206.5bn (€20.97bn) third Swedish pension fund, cited the development of reporting and best-practice guidance around sustainability.