Andrew Smith is taking over as head of property at Aberdeen Asset Management from Rickard Backlund.

Smith joined Aberdeen Property Investors in 2002 as head of investment strategy, since which time he has held a number of management positions covering both direct and indirect property, most recently as chief investment officer and head of fund management.

Aberdeen said Backlund had decided to step down from full time executive responsibility by his 60th birthday in September. He has led Aberdeen Property Investors for more than 10 years. Today it is one of the largest European property asset managers with £22.6bn of assets under management and it is planning to launch a third Asia fund of funds pooled vehicle.

“Andrew was the natural choice to succeed Rickard given his experience, knowledge of all aspects of our property division and industry profile,” said Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management. “He takes over at a time of increased investor interest in property and in particular our own products.”