Global Growth: An Interview with Bruce E. Mosler, President and CEO, Cushman & Wakefield
10 Oct, 2006, New York
Has Cushman & Wakefield’s business grown over the past few years, and are you optimistic for future growth?
Over the past 24 months, our growth has been finely targeted and highly strategic. For instance, we always make sure we get to know our partners before we make an acquisition. We also take time to understand the culture of the company we’re acquiring.
Recently, we’ve been very focused on global growth outside the U.S., but we never stop looking at acquiring domestically. We continue to focus on Asia and Europe, as well as our capital markets services worldwide. Specifically, we acquired Royal LePage, the largest and best brand in Canada, and Stiles & Riabokobylko in Russia because we believe it is an emerging marketplace and we need to be there for our clients. Meanwhile, we continue to expand aggressively in India, China, and throughout Asia because we must continue to provide our global client base with the same quality everywhere in the world. So we’ve targeted where we put our capital and we’re going to continue to adopt that approach strategically.
As you expand in those international markets, will acquisition be your primary method of growth?
Not necessarily. Where we have a presence on the ground, we’ll be looking to grow organically, because that’s the best and most profitable way for us to move the business to another level. It’s also a good way of ascertaining whether or not our brand is working in the global marketplace. The way I see it, if you can recruit locally and grow organically, then your brand is working. On the other hand, when we’re moving into new marketplaces, we do look at acquisition as a means of entry. It’s not the only way for us to expand into a new market, but it is an effective way when used in a targeted fashion.
How optimistic are you about China, and how challenging is it to grow in that market?
It’s enormously challenging because we want to acquire companies whose cultures fit with ours, and we want to make sure we’re doing it in a thoughtful way. We have managed to find some businesses that suit Cushman & Wakefield, and we have been able to work with them and move into those markets successfully. For me, the most important thing as we grow our business globally – and particularly in Asia – is that we have local leadership. In India, we have two local leaders, Sanjay Verma and Chanakya Chakravarti, who are driving our business and our business strategy. To me, that’s vital. We’re going to continue to work in that fashion in China and throughout Asia.
Is it difficult to find the talent you need in those markets?
It has been challenging, but one of the ways to do it is to link up with local universities. That’s what we’ve done with Shanghai University, and we’re going to do that in Beijing and India. Once you have that talent, those people become mentors for future talent.
Is the real estate industry appealing to young people?
I actually think that the real estate industry has never been more appealing to people coming out of college. Today, global real estate companies have moved into so many new areas of business, and that makes us more attractive than we’ve ever been. We’re now in investment and the structured financial marketplace. We offer people the chance to move from one area of the business to another, which is very appealing to a lot of young people.
On the surface, many global real estate companies can sound similar. What sets Cushman & Wakefield apart in the market?
I think what separates Cushman & Wakefield, at the end of the day, is the depth and breadth of the firm. I don’t just mean in terms of numbers of cities and numbers of people; I mean in terms of the kind of leadership that we have throughout our global firm. Ultimately, it’s our people who differentiate Cushman & Wakefield from our competitors. We’re an organization that supports our people in a unique way. Many people here have worked at the firm for more than 10 years, and 20-plus years is not uncommon. So our history and success is bound up with our people.
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