Sandro Pierri, the chief executive of Pioneer Investments, is stepping down at the end of January next year and will be replaced by his deputy Giordano Lombardo.

Pierri has worked for the investment manager, owned by Italy’s UniCredit, for 11 years, having been at the helm for the last two and a half years.

Federico Ghizzoni, chief executive of UniCredit, said: “Pioneer produced excellent investment results and robust net inflows owing to Sandro’s strategic focus and disciplined execution.”

Pioneer Investments and UniCredit said in a joint statement that Lombardo, currently deputy chief executive and CIO, would “ensure continuity leadership for Pioneer’s business during this phase”, but did not say whether he would be appointed as permanent chief executive of the subsidiary.

Neither did they say what Pierri intended to do after leaving Pioneer Investments, and no one was immediately available to comment further.

Pierri said he would always think very fondly of his time at Pioneer and wished nothing but the best for the company in the future.

Lombardo has worked at Pioneer Investments for 17 years. 

Banking group UniCredit, based in Milan, has been trying to move Pioneer Investments from its books for some time, in line with the trend for European banks to sell off asset management businesses in the wake of new EU regulation. 

In September, it was in talks with Banco Santander with a view to merging Pioneer with one of the Spanish bank’s subsidiaries into a large asset management business.