Who are the UK’s Top 32 commercial property leaders?
For our latest Top 32 list, Business Leader has profiled the UK’s leading commercial property firms and their leaders.
How have the top 32 been chosen?
These individuals and their companies have been selected for this list by our readers and subscribers. However, if you feel there is anyone else that deserves to be included, they can be added to the list. To submit an entry, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line of ‘Top 32 Commercial Property Leaders submission’.
This list is in no particular order.
Women in Property (WIP)
Spread across 13 different regions in the UK, WIP creates opportunities, expands knowledge, and inspires change for women working in the property and construction industry. They actively seek an industry that is balanced, diverse and inclusive, so they nurture girls aspiring to a career in the built environment sector, as well as supporting those in ‘mid-career’ and at board level. They are a multi-disciplinary organisation, encouraging an exchange of ideas and sharing of expertise, often through its extensive schedule of best practice workshops, site visits, keynote talks and social events.
With more than 25 years of experience at Savills, Ridley has risen through the ranks to become the firm’s Group CEO in January 2019. Savills is one of the world’s leading property agents across commercial, residential, and rural real estate. With 600 offices across the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, Ridley leads one of the company’s most important regions.
As Chair of the Knight Frank Group Executive Board, Elliott drives and implements the group’s global strategy across a network of over 20,000 people in 488 offices across 57 territories. He splits his time across four key areas: meeting clients around the world; engaging with Knight Frank teams in all regions; recruiting and retaining the best people through providing the right training, development, and motivation; engaging with media platforms around the world to develop Knight Frank’s brand profile.
JLL appointed Senior Client Partner Hyde as new CEO of its UK and Ireland business, with effect from April. Hyde’s appointment signals a new transformational chapter at JLL in the UK, the company’s second largest market, at a time when real estate is growing in prominence. She will lead the UK business and continue to strengthen JLL’s position as the technology-focused and market-leading real estate advisor.
Cushman & Wakefield
As Cushman & Wakefield’s Chief Executive Officer, EMEA, Wilson is responsible for strategic growth in the EMEA region. Prior to this role, Wilson was Head of UK & Ireland, and has served on the European Executive Committee since 2015. Across the region, Wilson leads more than 5,000 employees across 51 countries, who are based in over 140 offices.
Lawlor is CEO of Bruntwood SciTech, a property company dedicated to the growth of the science and technology sector. A 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal & General, Bruntwood SciTech has over 2.4m sq ft of assets under management and a development pipeline of over 1m sq ft. She joined Bruntwood in 2012 as Head of Tax & Treasury, and was focused on the refinance of the group’s £600m debt portfolio. Lawlor was appointed as CEO in January 2021, and oversees all aspects of the strategy and growth of Bruntwood’s network of innovation districts.
As the Managing Director of Planning, Development Regeneration at Avison Young in the UK and the regional Managing Director of Avison Young in Bristol, Davis is responsible for leading the development of the national planning development and regeneration team within Avison Young UK. She has over 25 years’ experience managing multi-disciplinary projects and client instructions associated with negotiating complex major planning permissions and mixed-use regeneration schemes. Specialist sectors include residential, employment, mixed-use, conservation and listed buildings, education, regeneration, public sector bodies and energy.
Christie & Co
Rugg was Managing Director of Christie & Co prior to the formation of Christie Group in 1985, when he was appointed Group Managing Director and later Chief Executive. He has chaired Christie & Co for over 30 years and is responsible for the day-to-day operation and development of the Group. He has been instrumental in identifying and integrating the Group’s principal subsidiary business acquisitions, as well as initiating new sectors and services.
As CEO for EMEA, McLernon is responsible for the growth and strategic direction of the business in the region. Bringing a depth of experience in building and growing businesses in mature and emerging markets, he has played an integral role in growing Colliers International into its current position as a top three global commercial real-estate services provider.
Davis Coffer Lyons
With extensive experience with both property investment and M&A transactions, Lyons has advised on deals worth excess of £3bn throughout his career. His experience spans across the alternative sectors, including pubs, restaurants, bars, health clubs, retail, hotels, and care homes. His experience in the property investment market has been largely focused on sale, leaseback, and leisure investment transactions. He has also advised on numerous portfolio transactions involving clients such as TDR Capital, David Lloyd Leisure and Caprice Group.
Dr Mark Robertson
Dr Robertson is Scotland’s leading authority of property markets and has completed well over 300 property consultancy deals within the public and private sector over his 25+ year career. As the Managing Partner of Ryden, he leads the firm in delivery of its business plan, and has extensive experience within the industry. He is also the Editor of the Scottish Property Review.
With more than 27 years of experience at the company, in May 2019, Hannah became the MD of the Nottingham-based commercial property experts. As the largest firm of its kind in the East Midlands, Innes offers services in acquisitions, disposals, and lettings, land sales and commercial development, property asset management, investment services, business rates, lease consultancy and valuation, building consultancy, energy consultancy and Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs).
Salloway established the firm in his hometown of Derby in 1993, after 18 years in the East Midland’s property sector. The business has since grown to three offices, following the opening of branches in Burton-on-Trent and Nottingham, and plays a significant role in the property industry across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, and Staffordshire. He has represented a number of public sector, corporate and private clients in a variety disciplines, including valuation, disposal and acquisition, investment, development and planning, expert witness, landlord and tenant, and strategic consultancy.
The property consultancy firm is at the forefront of two of the most dynamic real estate markets in the UK – the Oxford-Cambridge ‘Arc’ and the emerging field of Natural Capital. Today, the 500-strong team manages £5.2bn in property assets for national and global investors. An inspiring leader and Arctic explorer, Spitzer has transformed Bidwells’ commercial focus and fostered a culture where people thrive.
Lambert Smith Hampton
LSH is one of the UK’s largest national commercial property businesses and Nahome has led the firm since 2000. With 28 offices in the UK and Ireland, and more than 1,200 staff, LSH help owners, investors and occupiers achieve their business goals with a suite of integrated services including sourcing, planning, funding, advising, managing, valuing, and selling properties, across both the public and private sectors.
Cheffins is a firm of surveyors, property advisers and auctioneers. Established in 1825, Cheffins operates from six offices across the Mid-Anglia region, including Cambridge, Saffron Walden, Newmarket, Ely, Haverhill, and Sutton – as well as also having an office in London. The firm has grown organically over the years to become a modern and dynamic multi-disciplinary practice, operating with expertise in estate agency and lettings, commercial property services, planning, farm management consultancy, and providing professional advice on rural business matters.
Circle Property plc
Circle Property Plc is a specialist property investment company, registered in Jersey with its shares being quoted on AIM/London Stock Exchange. The company acquires regional office properties where it can add value by undertaking lease renewals, rent reviews, lettings, and refurbishments. They are now a prominent player within the market across the UK.
Group Managing Director Hart leads the Newcastle-based firm, who offer a wide range of services within the commercial property industry across the region. Bradley Hall provides property valuations and appraisals for secured lending, taxation, receivership, and litigation purposes. They also advise national and international banks on valuations for properties across the North East. With over 30 years’ experience, the company has created a strong reputation and has become a trusted partner for some of the UK’s largest businesses.
Naylors Gavin Black LLP
White is the Managing Partner of the practice and also Head of the Property and Asset Management Team, which he has built from a standing start to over 80 buildings, in a portfolio that extends from Aberdeen in the North to Bognor Regis in the South. He also has extensive experience in providing a range of consultancy advice, from developers on PFI schemes to leading the professional team. The company’s clients include Aberdeen Standard Investments, Vertu Motors and Liebherr.
Mark Shipman & Dominic Rowe
Since 1985, the firm has advised on over £60bn worth of property transactions in London and the UK. Their clients include high net-worth individuals, pension funds, and major international investors like Schroders, Columbia Threadneedle, Nuveen and Hermes. Many of them have been with the firm for decades. Shipman and Rowe are the firm’s two Founding Partners. Shipman is also Senior Partner at sister company Metrus where he manager over £5bn worth of property across the world.
With over 18 years of experience as Director of the company, Wallin helps lead the independent firm of chartered surveyors and commercial property consultants providing reputable, professional, and personal services to clients throughout the North East of England. Wallin specialises in giving advice on a broad range of commercial property matters, including agency sales and lettings, acquisitions, landlord and tenant, development sites for both residential and commercial, professional valuations undertaken for various purposes, including for secured lending, pension funds, inheritance tax
and asset purposes.
Founded in 1992, Bath-based Interaction is one of the UK’s leading commercial research, design and build specialists. Blacker has 25 years of experience at the firm and is the Director of the firm whose creative crew work on a range of commercial design and build projects, from bespoke office fitouts to multi-million-pound building refurbishments. Not only has Interaction become a top company within the industry in the South West, but across the whole of the UK.
Mason Owen advises its clients to acquire and dispose of retail properties, whether leasehold or freehold, existing assets or new developments. They are active across the UK in all sectors, from the high street to shopping centres and retail parks. Owen is the Chairman of the North West-headquartered company, having founded the company back in 1967. The company has over £500m in capital value of managed property and more than 250 rent reviews settled in the last year.
British Property Federation
As Chief Executive, Leech leads the organisation that represents businesses owning, managing, and investing in UK real estate – an industry with a market value of £1,662bn. The British Property Federation is one of the country’s most influential and high-profile lobby groups. Representing the property industry – including commercial and residential property owners, investors, developers, and their advisers – the BPF works to influence legislation and raise the industry’s profile across all areas of business, politics, and the media.
As Director and Head of Office at the Bristol-based, company he provides expert leadership within the commercial property space in the region. Through various mergers and acquisitions, the roots of Vickery Holman can be traced back as far as 1848. Today, the consultancy has more than 60 people working in four offices across the South West. Vickery Holman is a limited company, owned by its employees, and is a member of the RICS.
Richard Hardy & Tom Bromwich
Bromwich Hardy comprises of a dynamic and professional team of property consultants based in the West Midlands. The multi-disciplinary firm has more than 200 years’ experience in commercial property, and its extensive portfolio of skills and experience has helped build a successful company. Led by Founding Partners Hardy and Bromwich, they offer a full, bespoke service to developers, landlords and tenants looking to buy, sell or rent commercial property in the Midlands and beyond.
Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE
Indian-born McGregor-Smith is a British business executive and politician, who is the former CEO of Mitie Group plc – a UK facilities management business. She left the firm after she was offered to become a Conservative life peer in 2015. She is still considered a highly-influential part of the commercial property industry and has received a plethora of awards for her work within the industry.
Barker is the owner of the Leeds and Manchester-based firm, which is an award-winning specialist retail agency providing innovative advice on retail property to various clients. Barker Proudlove advises owners, occupiers, investors, and developers of high street in-town retail property. Other skills the firm provides includes specialists in leasing, acquisition, disposal, and strategic asset management advice to clients on their shopping centre and high street property holdings across the UK.
Sarah Trahair-Williams & Peter Walford
Cubex is a Bristol-based estate developer with a successful track record of developing and investing in property across the South West and South Wales since 2004. It develops and advises on schemes across the mixed-use, residential (build-to-rent, affordable housing and open market), commercial and industrial sectors, including its Finzels Reach scheme. Cubex’s philosophy is to deliver high-quality schemes with sustainability and placemaking at the heart of its decisions, to create desirable schemes which meet local demand, are sympathetic to their surroundings and provide balanced communities.
Founded in 1986 with the aim of providing expert, professional and personal advice on commercial property, the company now has 35 staff based in Chester and Nantwich. Legat Owen advises corporate and private clients on all aspects of agency, investment, development, management, building surveys, rent reviews and lease renewals, rating and valuation. Johnston is the Managing Director of the firm and specialises in development and agency matters.
Turner & Townsend
Moore joined Turner & Townsend in 1999 and was appointed to the Executive Board in 2018. As Managing Director in the UK, she leads a team of more than 2,000 experts – servicing clients across the real estate, infrastructure, and the natural resources markets. The firm itself has grown from a single quantity surveying partnership founded in the UK in 1946 to now becoming a world-leading professional services company, with 111 offices around the world.
Hammerson is an owner, manager, and developer of retail properties in Europe with a portfolio of high-quality flagship destinations and premium outlets, providing approximately 1.8 million square metres of space for brands across seven countries. The group’s property portfolio comprises 20 flagship destinations in the UK, France and Ireland and investments in nine premium outlets across Europe. Gagné took over as CEO in late 2020 to lead the company into the future.