Brad Gee, Managing Director of Broll Kenya
One of Africa’s leading property services companies, Broll Property Group has appointed Gordon Bell, former City Property Administration Chief Executive Officer as Director for Broll’s Africa business and Brad Gee, former Chief Operating Officer for Dolmen Group, Pakistan’s largest private owned property developer and management company, to Managing Director for Broll Kenya with effect from 1 July 2015.
Bell brings with him a track record of outstanding success in his career including the turnaround of Killarney Shopping Centre and turning a derelict industrial portfolio into a profitable business during his tenure as CEO of City Property Administration.
With a wealth of experience and knowledge in African real estate markets, his core skills include property and project finance and property management.
Group CEO, Malcolm Horne of the Broll Property Group says the Group is thrilled to welcome Bell to the role of Director on our African operations, which employ around 500 people on the ground outside South Africa, working closely with Leonard Michau, Director for Broll West African business units. Bell and Michau will jointly head Broll’s African operations from a Broll Head Office point of view.
Australian Gee brings with him a wealth of real estate knowledge and emerging markets experience. He has worked in Australia, Dubai, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam as well as Europe. One of his career achievements include the restructuring of the then failing property management arm of Dolmen Group.
“These executives will further strengthen our African business as we are currently at various stages of expansion into other countries in Africa,” says Horne with the Group having just opened in Ivory Coast and shortly to open in Botswana and Cameroon.
He explains that Gee takes over from Jonathan Yach who was appointed in the initial phase of setting-up Broll Kenya and now that this phase is complete, Yach is moving on to other things.
“However, due to growth in the business, Yach will assist the Group with other initiatives and we would like to thank him for his contribution in setting-up the Broll Kenya business.
“As the Managing Director of Broll Kenya, Gee brings a much needed skills set and experience from an operational level to take the business to deliver on the many secured mandates and to take the business into its next phase of growth,” according to Horne.
Horne says these executive appointments will further strengthen the Africa business from an operational perspective as the Group continues to explore opportunities in both opening new offices and service lines across the continent. Broll has managed to attract real estate professionals from across the globe into Africa with some nationals returning to their country of birth or others like Brad Gee who has a desire to mentor and develop the real estate sector in emerging markets. Broll is currently employing French and Portuguese speaking teams who will operate in the non –Anglo speaking countries.
Bell and Gee have the experience and skills needed and they are both passionate about Africa and mentoring. He says in Africa particularly, one needs the passion to mentor people beyond their capabilities as often, South African professionals tend to underestimate the quality of expertise in Africa.
“Bell’s notable experience, wide industry connections and stellar reputation as an executive and collaborative leader marked him out as the ideal person to take us into a new era as we continue to strengthen and grow our Africa operations.
“It is particularly gratifying to be able to attract someone of Bell’s standing in the real estate sector industry to take on this influential role,” says Horne.
Commenting on his appointment, Bell says: “I am excited to be part of the Broll Property Group. The company has a solid reputation in the market and trust that my diverse background coupled with my passion for real estate and Africa will enable me to identify areas where I can add value to the Group.”
He notes that the Group has broad capabilities in the market and its winning strategy, well defined values and culture has enabled the Group to grow its footprints across the continent.
Africa is diverse and offers vast untapped opportunity. Bell explains that unlocking these opportunities lies in understanding the local markets, the sovereign and country risk as well as the fact that many of these economies are highly dollarised thus presenting risks to uninformed investors. The best approach is to partner with the right stakeholders and leverage off local skills, knowledge and expertise to ensure that the solution is commercially beneficial to both the investor and local economy.
Bringing 30 years of experience to the Broll Property Group, Gee will be able to share his vast knowledge and develop leaders of tomorrow.
“I am very excited to be joining the Broll Kenya team as MD and I look forward to working with and through the team to develop the people and the systems to enable the delivery of world class management practices,” says Gee.
Michau says although Ghana’s economy is showing limited growth, they remain positive about Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy. He points out that opportunities exist for investment sales with lots of funds and investment firms looking to buy quality dollar based assets in the commercial, industrial and retail sectors.
He points out that Broll is still dominant in the retail sector in Nigeria which makes up the bulk of the Broll Nigeria business. Furthermore, Michau explains that growth in East Africa is of significant value to the Group as plans are in place to expand service lines in countries in the east region of the continent.
According to Rowland Gurnell, Head of Facilities Management for Broll Property Group, expansion opportunities in Africa are huge on the back of following MTN into countries where the company has operations. Currently, Broll Facilities Management has operations in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Namibia and Nigeria and plans to open in Cameroon, Uganda, Guinea-Bissau, Swaziland, Liberia, Benin, Gabon, Zambia, South Sudan, Tanzania and Cyprus. In some countries, he notes that language is a barrier to doing business which is why partnering with the right local people is key. Another challenge is getting the right qualified people so Broll spends a lot of resources on training and getting the systems up and running to create efficient work processes for its clients wherever they are located.
“On the back of the Group expansion, we see Nigeria and Kenya as countries offering the most opportunities.”
Broll Property Group‘s total assets under management measure 22 million square metres.
Taking all the growth opportunities and Group expansion in Africa, Horne adds that Bell and Gee together with the local teams and service line specialist heads will provide Broll with leadership and expertise which will add more value to the our growing client base both in SA and in Africa.