EUROPE - Roger Yates has stepped down as chief executive of Pioneer Investments due to "family commitments" in London, according to a statement by the asset manager.

The former head of Henderson Group joined UniCredit's Pioneer in 2010, with his arrival triggering a reorganisation of the institutional business team that led to the departure of Paul Price, now head of investment management of international sales at Morgan Stanley.

Sando Pierri has been appointed head of asset management at UniCredit, with Pioneer's board of directors expected to confirm him as new chief executive in July.

Pierri joined the company nearly a decade ago, most recently serving as head of Western Europe and international, with his remit encompassing Asia and Latin America.

Prior to joining Pioneer in 2003, he worked at ING Investment Management for nearly a decade.

Yates' departure comes at the beginning of the €160bn asset manager's new five-year growth plan, which he said would see it expanding more aggressively into Germany, as well as the Asian market.

Federico Ghizzoni, chief executive at UniCredit said Pierri's appointment would "ensure continuity" and the successful implementation of the growth plan, which he noted was now moving into the implementation phase.

"I am convinced the existing plan on which we remain fully committed will bring additional value to the group and the shareholders," he said in a statement.

Yates, who will remain as a non-executive director, added that a "clear roadmap" for Pierri's tenure had already been defined and praised him for being a "valuable" adviser.

Pioneer's new five-year growth plan came about after a mooted sale of the company came to nothing, with Amundi, Natixis and UK insurer Resolution reportedly interested at the time.