AXA IM – Real Assets changes leadership

Isabelle Scemama is succeeding Pierre Vaquier as chief executive, while two other executives have been elevated into more senior roles as part of the transition.

Isabelle Scemama, a longtime veteran of AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets, has been named its new chief executive, replacing Pierre Vaquier.

Vaquier, who helmed AXA IM – Real Assets for a decade, is leaving to pursue other interests. Joining AXA Group in 1993, he moved to AXA Real Estate Investment Managers, the predecessor to AXA IM – Real Assets, at its formation in 1999. For the past 10 years, he has led the firm as CEO, playing an instrumental role in the growth of the company, which has evolved from a Europe-focused firm to a €17 billion global platform under his leadership.

“I would like to thank Pierre for his contribution to the development and growth of AXA IM – Real Assets,” said Andrea Rossi, chief executive of AXA Investment Managers, the investment arm of French insurance firm AXA Group. “His clear vision and understanding of the real assets market were undoubtedly key ingredients in AXA IM – Real Assets’ expansion and numerous business successes. During his tenure, Pierre also managed to build a team of very experienced and highly capable professionals, who are now well prepared to pursue the strategy he put in place.”

Of Scemama, Rossi added: “She has been an instrumental force in, and key to the development of our real assets platform, while leading the funds group, and while serving as a member of the AXA IM – Real Assets’ management board. I have every confidence that the longevity of her experience with the firm, and her direct involvement in AXA IM – Real Assets’ recent expansion and achievements, will ensure both a smooth transition and continued success.”

As part of the transition, two other AXA IM – Real Assets executives have been elevated to new roles. Timothé Rauly, formerly head of the firm’s commercial real estate and core funds business, will now be head of its funds group, overseeing all of its fund activities. Meanwhile, Andrew Stainer, currently head of asset management and transactions for northern Europe, has been named global head of asset management.

The two executives have been named to AXA IM – Real Assets’ new management board, along with Ruulke Bagijn, global head of real assets private equity; Sébastien Herzog, global chief financial officer, chief operating officer and corporate secretary; Laurent Lavergne, head of separate accounts; and Dennis Lopez, chief investment officer and global head of sales.

Lavergne will also take on additional responsibility for development in the US and Asia, while Lopez will now also be in charge of global transactions.

“The firm has been a success story since its very creation and it is an exciting challenge, and great responsibility, to have the opportunity to lead it through the next phase of its evolution with our new management board, particularly in an environment where demand from investors for real assets has never been so high,” said Scemama.

Scemama was previously CEO of AXA REIM SGP, the French regulated entity of AXA IM – Real Assets. In her former post, she oversaw the firm’s funds group, which includes its core, value-added and development real estate funds. Notably, she was behind the launch of the AXA CoRE Europe fund in December 2015.

Scemama joined AXA IM – Real Assets in 2001 to head its real estate fund structuring and financing practice. In 2005, she launched the firm’s commercial real estate loans business, which she has grown into a platform that currently manages over €10 billion of investment mandates on behalf of both AXA’s insurance companies and third-party institutions.

In 2013, she also was responsible for rolling out AXA IM – Real Assets’ infrastructure lending platform. That business was initially established to invest up to €10 billion in the infrastructure market on behalf of the AXA Group but was expanded at the end of 2016 with the launch of a commingled infrastructure debt fund, which had raised €730 million from third parties as of November 2016.