John Saunders, who leads the Asia-Pacific real estate business of BlackRock, is leaving after 16 years with the firm, according to sources close to the matter.

IPE Real Assets understands that he will take on a senior role at a real estate company based in Asia-Pacific.

BlackRock did not comment, but it is understood that Hamish MacDonald is to succeed Saunders as head of Asia-Pacific real estate equity, while retaining his existing role as CIO of Asia-Pacific real estate equity.

MacDonald will also become co-portfolio manager of all vintages funds in BlackRock Asia-Pacific value-add real estate series and join the global real estate executive committee.

Stella Ju will expand her existing portfolio management responsibilities to become co-portfolio manager, reporting to MacDonald.

Saunders oversaw the value-add fund series and separate mandates in Asia-Pacific. He joined real estate fund manager MGPA in 2007, which merged with BlackRock in 2013.

MacDonald was also part of the team at MGPA, when it was acquired by BlackRock. He worked in a UK acquisitions role in London from 2007, before moving to Sydney in 2012 to build up an investment team in Australia.

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