Qatar’s largest sovereign wealth fund has grabbed a top City of London banker to run its deal-related activities worldwide, as it moves to expand a $320bn (£246.6bn) portfolio that includes the single-largest stake in supermarket Sainsbury’s, Sky News reported.
Sky said Ken McLaren, currently a managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML), will leave his post later this year to join the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), one of the largest state-backed investment vehicles in the world.
Since its launch in 2005 and a way to further monetise Qatar’s substantial gas reserves, the QIA has gradually expanded its global portfolio into a range of sectors.
Its assets include stakes in mining group Glencore, the London Stock Exchange Group, Heathrow airport and in lender Barclays. It has held a large stake in Sainsbury’s since 2007, and has supported a merger between the company and its sector rival Asda.
Sources told Sky that McLaren, who has held a variety of roles at BAML, would be focused on international investments.
The QIA recently announced a leadership shake-up, with Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al Mahmoud taking over from Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani as its chief executive.