UK - Hermes Fund Managers has appointed Chris Taylor as chief executive of Hermes Real Estate Investment Management.

The company had been searching for a replacement for Rupert Clarke, who is now chief executive at Hermes Fund Managers, for more than two years.

Taylor joins from QIC, an Australia-based global fund manager, where he has been head of European property for the last four years. 

Before then, he was head of European property at HSBC Specialist Investments and worked in property fund management at Prudential UK.

Andrew Strang, former chief executive for Threadneedle's real estate business, has been acting as executive chair of Hermes' property business since last March.

He will continue to serve as non-executive chairman, reporting to Taylor.

Clarke said his new head of real estate had "outstanding credentials" as a property investor and that his arrival, together with a number of key additions made over the last year, meant Hermes was well placed to develop the business.

Taylor's appointment comes one of the final pieces of a major staff overhaul over the last two and a half years at Hermes.

In recent years, roughly 150 people have left the 420-strong company, while 250 have joined.

Three new executives have joined in the last 12 months, including Chris Goudie as executive director in charge of global business development and chief executive of Hermes Fund Managers North America

Clarke said: "We've spent the last two and a half years investing in the infrastructure and teams, bringing on a business development team that can handle the third-party market, which is really only in place now, having grown from two to more than 20.

"Next year will be the interesting year, when we really start getting traction."

Clarke said the turnover had been "absolutely essential" to the business plan.

"It's been a proactive change, rather than a reactive change," he said.

"The 250 who have arrived are absolutely essential to provide the skills, experience and different culture needed to transition our business to the third-party market."

The staff reshuffle has been part of a five-year plan at Hermes Fund Managers to attract more than £25m in third-party assets, which have fallen to £5.7m so far this year from £6.3m last year.

Clarke said: "We've taken on new teams in our fund of hedge funds, global equities, European equities and credit, and we've merged our private equity fund of funds business to give it critical mass.

"So we've done quite a lot in terms of deciding which investment areas we want to develop, with about 12 boutiques in various stages of being able to offer a proposition to the third-party market.

"It's quite a big transition from the history, and for most of them, it's a complete start from scratch with respect to the third-party market."