People Moves: AXA IM Alts appoints Chris Willey as Head of Asset Management ESG in Australia


Press Release - AXA IM Alts, a global leader in alternative investments with c. €188 billion of assets under management, announces a number of senior internal appointments to its Australian leadership team, as it continues to drive growth in this priority global market. The business announces that Chris Willey and James Cox have been promoted to the respective positions of Head of Asset Management and ESG, and Head of Fund Management for AXA IM Alts in Australia, replacing Quentin Shaw who previously held the combined role of Head of Asset and Funds Management. Antoine Mesnage has also been appointed as Head of Australia AXA IM Alts, effective from 1 October, replacing Kumar Kalyanakumar.

Since 2016, both Kumar Kalyanakumar and Quentin Shaw have been instrumental in successfully developing AXA IM Alts' expertise in the Australian market and repositioning the Australian platform as a leader in the alternative real estate market. Both will depart the business on 30 September 2022 to allow for an orderly transition.

Chris Willey has over 27 years' experience in the institutional fund management sector and is recognised as a leader in the local market on ESG integration into asset management. James Cox brings a wealth of expertise spanning a number of different roles within the real estate and fund management sector and has spent the past several years spearheading the AXA Group's deployment of capital in the Australian market. Both Chris and James have over 15 years with the Australian business.

Antoine Mesnage, currently Head of Transactions for France at AXA IM Alts, will be relocating to Australia and brings over 16 years of real estate investment management expertise. In his current role, he has been responsible for many complex and high-profile investments, leading over €11 billion euros of transactions on behalf of AXA IM Alts clients across all strategies and sectors, including residential and forestry.

AXA IM Alts entered the Australian market in 2016 and has since grown into a highly active investment management platform in the region, with approximately €4.9 billion of equity and debt real assets under management[1]. It has transacted a number of large strategic investments and developments in recent years across the core and alternative real estate sectors of office, hotels, healthcare, student housing and social infrastructure. Most recently it has acquired a 24,000 hectare forestry estate, in what was the largest investment into Australian forestry in over a decade[2] along with the acquisition of a strategic stake in the Moorebank Logistics Precinct development in Sydney for a total of c. €1.06 billion (A$1.67 billion), alongside a consortium of investors. The business is also currently embarking on its multifamily residential strategy in Australia, leveraging off its strong track record and scale in the European market.

Laurent Jacquemin, Head of Asia Pacific at AXA IM Alts, commented: 

"The Australian business is integral to our sizeable growth ambitions for the APAC region. Antoine brings significant knowledge, skills and years of expertise from his time in Europe, and I look forward to working with him to spearhead the next phase of growth in the Australian market. As long standing senior members of the Australian business, and with a deep understanding of the local market, Chris and James will be instrumental in complementing Antoine in achieving our growth ambitions."

"I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the passion and energy of Kumar in repositioning and transforming the business as the leading alternative real estate investment manager in Australia. I would also like to thank Quentin for his commitment to AXA IM Alts over the past 6 years and in steering the asset and funds management parts of the business in an excellent manner."

Kumar Kalyanakumar commented: 

"After successfully leading the transition of the business from a boutique to be part of a global platform, the recent successes of the business has positioned it well to strengthen its reputation as a leader in real estate. I am looking forward to embarking on a new chapter and playing an influential role within the institutional real estate and infrastructure sector. Sustainable and responsible investment is a passion of mine and it will be central to long term performance as the world transitions to a low carbon economy."

Quentin Shaw commented: 

"The strong culture and enduring relationships with our capital partners built over the last 18 years forms the bedrock of this immensely successful business. I am proud to have been part of this wonderful journey."

Source: Press Release


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