Global leader in facilities management (FM) Kath Fontana (Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) has been elected to the role of Senior Vice President of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
She will be the first chartered surveyor from the area of workplace and facilities strategy to lead the profession and will become RICS President in 2020. Fontana is the third woman in the past 10 years to be elected to the RICS Presidential Team.
Standing at the forefront of technological progress in property, Fontana is a strong proponent of the “Internet of Things” and the opportunities a networked built environment can bring to businesses and people. She has worked at a senior level across multiple sectors including banking, retail, professional services, defence, science, local and central government as well as the private finance initiative sector.
Fontana is managing director for ISS Technical Services, based in the United Kingdom (UK). She joined ISS from BAM FM (Facilities Management) where she was MD for the company’s FM business. She leads a team of over 1 000 employees to deliver mobile engineering, energy management and compliance services across the UK.
Commenting on her election, she says: “I am thrilled to have been elected as RICS Senior Vice President. This industry is on the cusp of a technological and social revolution which will fundamentally change our profession and usher in radical new business models. RICS professionals must be ready to embrace this change – ready to enable a sustainable built environment through values driven technology and a people focused approach. Not only will this ensure a better built environment but also a better life for those that live and work in it.”
Fontana has over 25 years’ experience within the industry. At ISS, she is responsible for the UK technical services business and also leads service excellence for asset management engineering and capital projects in the UK and Ireland. Prior to this she held a number of senior positions in estates and contract management spanning over 20 years, managing complex programmes and service delivery. She has been involved in a number of integrations and acquisitions in her career, leading and developing teams through transformation to success.
“I will also be a championing the continuing drive for greater diversity within our profession and the wider built environment. It is vital all genders, races and backgrounds are properly represented, supported and proactively elevated within our member firms. This isn’t just the decent thing to do, it’s good business,” she says.
TC Chetty, RICS Country Manager for South Africa says: “We welcome Kath’s global appointment as these issues are extremely relevant not only here in South Africa, where we are actively focusing on promoting greater diversity in the industry, but also across the continent. Coupled with this, it is also increasingly evident that now, more than ever, professional facilities management has a strategic and important role to play in terms of sustainability, cost reduction, minimising risk and maintaining and enhancing the value of property assets.”
RICS Governing Council elected Fontana after a global search for candidates and a rigorous process. Shortlisted candidates demonstrated strong skills as trustees and as ambassadors for the profession. Fontana will take up her post as RICS Senior Vice President in November 2018, elevating to RICS President Elect in 2019, and finally RICS President in 2020.