Wolfhard Leichnitz will take over as chairman of IVG Immobilien, one of Europe’s largest real estate firms, on 1 July.

In a statement, the former Viterra chairman said he would continue IVG’s expansion “according to clear profit guidelines”. Although it will be September before he formally outlines the firm’s strategic direction, he is expected to boost the investment management side of the business. The firm currently has €18.5bn in assets under management.

Leichnitz’s predecessor, Eckhard John van Freyend, has joined IVG’s supervisory board. Age restrictions would have required him to retire from the chairman’s role next year. Leichnitz coming onto the market last year accelerated the process.

IVG spokesman Peter Müller said: “The moment was right. Dr Leichnitz was ready, available, interested and a good candidate.”

As chairman of Viterra, Leichnitz prepared the company for transfer from E.On to DAIG in one of Germany’s largest corporate deals. However, Müller said Leichnitz’s background in spinning off real estate development businesses was “not linked” to his appointment.